ESPN To Stop Airing WWE Content After Peacock Deal

ESPN is not thrilled about WWE inking a streaming rights deal with NBCU so they’ve made the decision to stop airing all WWE content.

This topic was discussed by Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez on the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Live this afternoon. The deal will see all WWE programming that had been on the WWE Network in the United States move to NBCU’s Peacock streaming service this March. 

It was stated that speculation about how NBCU trying to acquire SmackDown would be justified now that NBCU has signed the WWE Network for Peacock. Of course, NBCU owns the USA Network, the home of Raw, and previously had the rights to SmackDown before WWE inked a big-money deal with FOX. 

It was noted that the idea of NBCU trying to get back the rights to Smackdown wouldn’t be far-fetched or even the possibility of NBCU trying to buy WWE due to them already paying TV rights to Raw and now with the WWE Network programming. 

Once Alvarez remarked that this new NBCU – WWE deal for Peacock is a good sign that Disney, the parent company of ESPN, not trying to negotiate a sale of WWE right now, Meltzer indicated there are issues between WWE and ESPN. 

The belief is ESPN was a significant part of the WWE Network talks before WWE decided to ink a deal with NBCU. Over the years, there have been rumors of Disney being interested in buying WWE. ESPN found out three weeks ago that they were not getting the WWE Network deal.

Meltzer added that ESPN has “pretty much shut down” any WWE coverage and won’t air any WWE content on their networks going forward. 

Last February it was rumored WWE and ESPN had talked about potentially moving pay-per-view events to the ESPN+ platform. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down that.

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