Backstage Notes on WWE Network & Peacock Deal, No Separate Tier for PPV Events, ESPN Cutting Ties

As previously reported, WWE and NBCUniversal announced a huge multi-year agreement yesterday that will make the Peacock service the exclusive home of the WWE Network starting on March 18. NBCUniversal will now have exclusive streaming rights to the WWE Network in the United States. On today’s Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer covered various aspects of the deal and answered a number of questions on what this means going forward.

As noted, the complete library of WWE Network content will transfer over to Peacock at no additional cost. The Peacock service is currently priced at $4.99 per month with ads and $9.99 without ads. WWE PPV events are included in the deal, and those events will still be made as separate PPV purchases via cable and satellite services, so it did not include PPV exclusivity.

Meltzer reported today that WWE PPV events will not break away as part of a separate tier as part of the Peacock deal. This means all WWE PPV events, including this year’s WrestleMania 37, will be available as part of the basic Peacock streaming deal at $4.99.

With regards to the price of $4.99 a month with ads and $9.99 a month, Meltzer stated that under the deal NBCUniversal does have the power to change the pricing of tiers involving WWE Network, PPV events included. However, while NBCUniversal might raise the price on the subscription in the future, there are reportedly no plans to do so right now. When asked, NBCUniversal officials wouldn’t commit to saying the price won’t go up, but there are no plans to raise the subscription prices at the moment.

Additionally, Meltzer noted this is essentially a long-term licensing deal of the WWE tape library by NBCUniversal. So, WWE still owns their Network content and tape library. Essentially, NBCUniversal is “renting” the WWE content for its service over the five-year length for the current deal.

Also, Meltzer addressed ESPN no longer airing WWE content following the announcement of its deal. ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company, which is a media competitor for NBCUniversal parent company, Comcast. Meltzer clarified that there’s no specific ban on professional wrestling with ESPN, his sources told him it was specifically ESPN cutting ties with WWE due to the NBCUniversal deal.

WWE Network’s migration to Peacock starts March 18. WWE Fastlane will be the first live pay-per-view event that will stream on Peacock on Sunday, March 21.

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