Their United States contracts with Fox and NBCUniversal were huge for WWE, but everything is a global business and theirs is no exception. This week, the company has announced a pair of international television deals - one which will see them stay with a familiar partner, and another where they’ll move to a new one for the first time in 30 years.
In Latin America, WWE extended their partnership with Fox Sports. The “multi-year agreement” covers weekly airings of not only Raw and SmackDown LIVE, but also NXT, Main Event, and the localized production WWE Saturday Night. The new partnership also includes one-hour versions of Raw and SmackDown, and plans for a new 30-minute localized highlights show. Financial terms were not announced.
Bigger news comes from Ireland and the United Kingdom, where a report that WWE would be leaving long-time partner Sky was confirmed today. The company announced they are moving to BT Sport, with Raw and SmackDown LIVE airing live on the network starting in January 2020. Described again as a “multi-year” deal, no specific length or financial terms were disclosed.
In addition to the live (1AM local time) broadcasts of the red and blue brands, pay-per-view (PPV) events will be sold on BT Sport Box Office. There will also be prime time re-airings of Raw on Tuesdays and SmackDown on Saturdays. BT Sport will also run a two hour version of Raw, and one hour versions of both shows “across its portfolio of channels.” The press release also states, “WWE and BT Sport will also partner across digital and social media platforms to create new content for fans that will increase reach for WWE and drive engagement across the UK and Ireland.”
WWE will join the Premier League and UFC on BT Sport, but the move will result in their being in fewer homes (Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer recently wrote the change of partners “does weaken the WWE’s television situation, since Sky is currently in 8.56 million homes and BT is in 2.19 million homes”).