WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan recently spoke with Joe Reedy of The Associated Press to promote the WWE Network move to Peacock in the United States. Khan revealed that WWE had discussions about the future of the Network long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
WWE realized over the past few years that trying to maintain the WWE Network infrastructure could come at the expense of programming. That led to the relationship with NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform.
“The big question internally was how much can you invest and keep pace with the technology? It would be a massive investment,” Khan said.
The WWE Network averages 1.5 million subscribers but will now see a huge jump in potential viewers as Comcast reported 33 million sign-ups to Peacock in their Q4 2020 reports. While all of these are not active viewers, Khan said the entire deal was a no-brainer.
“We can drop the price in half (WWE Network was $9.99 per month, while Peacock will be $4.99 per month) and add their technical support. Ultimately it became a no brainer, especially with their reach,” Khan said.
The WWE Network move to Peacock also gives WWE a financial boost during the pandemic as they will see an average of $200 million per year during the 5 year contract.
The Associated Press piece also mentioned how WWE does not expect live event touring to return until at least July due to the pandemic. The summer of 2021 has been a rumored return date for touring going back to last summer.
WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon was also interviewed by The AP. She commented on WrestleMania 38 taking place at AT&T Stadium near Dallas while WrestleMania 39 is scheduled for SoFi Stadium near Los Angeles, the original area they had booked for this year’s WrestleMania 37 event. Stephanie noted that logistical challenges and building commitments are why the Los Angeles area must wait two years.
It was noted how WrestleMania 38 and 39 are scheduled to be one-night events like WrestleMania shows were in pre-pandemic years. Stephanie said the move to two nights for WrestleMania 36 proved popular, but trying to do two nights in the future might be more difficult due to the many events held during the week barring a pandemic.
“I suppose anything in life is possible, but this format is unique to the times,” McMahon said of the two-night WrestleMania events.