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Fox Sports loads up on WWE content during the pandemic

ESPN’s broadcast of an edited version of WrestleMania 30 on Sun., Mar. 22 served as proof of concept. With little in the way of sports entertainment options for fans during the coronavirus pandemic, viewers would tune in for WWE content - even past events they may have watched before.

Fox Sports is already in business with WWE, thanks to SmackDown airing on their main over-the-air network every Friday. And with little else to offer their audience right now, they’re following ESPN’s lead.

Word went around toward the end of last week that Fox cable channel FS1 would air January’s Royal Rumble event tonight (Tues., Mar. 31). Turns out that’s only one item from a menu of WWE content they’ll be offering up over the coming weeks.

After Royal Rumble airs, WWE Backstage will return in a “modified remote format”. And in addition to 2020’s Rumble, Fox is offering WrestleMania 36 as a pay-per-view (PPV) on all its mobile and streaming apps. For $59.99, you’ll get both nights of shows on Sat., April 4 - Sun. April 5. The hour-long Kickoff shows will run on FS1 and FOX Deportes.

They have more planned, too. The full programming schedule hasn’t been announced yet, but Tuesday nights will be Fox Sports’ WWE night for the spring. Edited versions of WrestleMania 31, 33, and 34 (the recent ones not being aired on ESPN) are coming, along with WWE Network content like episodes of WWE 24 and the Ruthless Aggression series. A new Best of WWE show is also on the way, which sounds like it will be a collection of matches and segments focused on a big star. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, John Cena, Charlotte Flair, Ric Flair, Brock Lesnar, Becky Lynch, Shawn Michaels, Roman Reigns and The Undertaker are listed as being featured.

Execs from both sides of the deal talked it up in the official announcement:

“Six months after our historic partnership brought SmackDown to its new home on FOX, we are thrilled to deliver even more premium programming, including WrestleMania, across the entire FOX Sports portfolio,” said Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer. “In partnership with FOX Sports, it’s a privilege to be able to entertain our fans each week and put smiles on their faces, particularly during a time when they need it the most.”

“We’re pleased to offer this new slate of WWE programming for viewers during these challenging times,” said Mark Silverman, President, National Networks, FOX Sports. “We hope this lineup of sports-entertainment programming serves as a much-needed relief for fans. We appreciate the hard work and creativity of the teams on both sides of our long-term partnership with WWE.”

Gonna be punching up Fox Sports more often in the coming weeks, WWE fans?

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