In surprising news, WWE announced today that they have reached a deal with NBC Universal to roll their WWE Network streaming service into NBC’s Peacock for US-based subscribers. According to Variety, the deal is reportedly worth over $1 billion.
What does this mean for current WWE Network subscribers? Your WWE Network subscription will effectively become a Peacock Premium subscription, allowing you to continue to access WWE Network content at half the price every month on top of Peacock Premium content (with ads). If you want to go totally ad-free, you can upgrade to the $9.99 Peacock tier, which will give you full access to WWE Network content and everything Peacock has to offer with no ads. Nothing will change for WWE Network subscribers outside the United States.
Peacock EVP and Chief Revenue Officer called WWE Network a “transformative addition” to NBC’s platform. “We have a lot of data that shows live events and sports drives a lot of user acquisition,” he said. “The bet is that there exists a much larger total available audience [for WWE programming] than is on WWE Network today.” Indeed, live programming such as sports (and sports entertainment) are huge drivers for live viewership, something networks are increasingly looking toward to keep the value of advertisements high.
It’s less clear what will happen to pay-per-view events on the service. There have been rumors swirling that WWE was looking for a way to back out of the concept including all PPVs on WWE Network and go back to charging a monthly fee for them. Before WWE Network launched in 2014, WWE charged upwards of 60 dollars for a PPV event in high definition, and UFC continues that same practice today. WWE’s main competitor in American professional wrestling, AEW, also charges for each PPV event, though they only run four a year. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some kind of new pricing model for PPVs emerge from this deal with Peacock.
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