With all major sports currently off the air, we have seen both ESPN and FOX turn to WWE for more content. ESPN in particular has had success with showing past WrestleMania events, drawing larger than expected audiences in the process. WrestleMania 32 aired in full last Sunday, while WrestleMania XXX aired in full two weeks ago. The network will show last year's WrestleMania 35 in advance of this year's WrestleMania on Sunday afternoon. Given this relationship with WWE and WrestleMania, it's not surprising that questions have been raised about what this could mean for the future.
Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso asked Brent Colborne (ESPN Senior Director of Programming) if there is a possibility that ESPN could air WrestleMania live in the future. We know that WWE has been shopping their PPV rights in recent months, potentially moving the shows away from the WWE Network.
"It’s a great question,” Colborne said regarding WrestleMania coming to ESPN in the future. “We’re always open to discussing a lot of different ideas with various leagues, but right now the focus for what we’re doing with WWE is on the short-term. We felt like this was a really good content opportunity for us to show these three encores, and a really good promotional opportunity for WWE to help utilize our reach and our brand to create more excitement for WrestleMania this upcoming weekend.”1comments
Perhaps the bigger clue on WrestleMania's future lies with FOX. The network is airing both nights of WrestleMania this year for a price tag of $59.99 on their app. Of course, with WrestleMania available on the WWE Network, it wouldn't make much sense to pay that price, but it appears as if FOX is testing the option out for the future.
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