As noted before, WWE announced that they have recently reached a deal with NBC to move their WWE Network service and future pay-per-view events to NBC’s Peacock streaming service. This move will only affect the United States version of the WWE Network, which will cease to exist as its own separate service starting on March 18th.
The Wrestling Observer and Fightful Select reported that the general reaction within the company to the announcement was one of surprise. The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer reported that most WWE employees were not made aware beforehand since company meetings last week did not bring up anything regarding this deal. Fightful Select reported (via HeelByNature.com) that the general reaction from WWE’s locker room was positive with one wrestler spoken to stating that this will lead to more “additional eyes on the product” while another top wrestler stated that they did not really care where WWE Network content was distributed unless it negatively impacted their pay.
Meltzer reported that WWE’s President and Chief Financial Officer Nick Khan was the key person behind this deal.
In regards to NXT’s status on the USA Network, ProWrestling.net’s Jason Powell reported that NXT will not be affected and will continue to air live weekly on the USA Network for the time being. NXT’s future on the network is more uncertain due to their television contract is currently rumored to expire this October and are also expected to be impacted by NBC’s recent decision to move their sports programming over to the USA Network.
In regards to the fallout from the deal, WWE President & CFO Khan stated in a recent interview with The Wrap that this deal will not affect the company’s current relationship with FOX for SmackDown. Khan stated “We’re confident and happy with our Fox/”SmackDown” relationship, which still has multiple years left on it. So nothing has changed in that arena.”
The fallout from others was less positive with WWE’s stocks not seeing a spike in value following the announcement and ESPN discontinuing WWE programming on their network. In regards to WWE’s stocks, it dropped in value by 2.8% to close Monday’s trading at $53.96 per share. In regards to ESPN, Meltzer reported (via 411Mania.com) that the network made the decision to stop airing WWE content following the announcement and had been airing WWE content less frequently over the past year due to similar talks for a deal that went nowhere.