Because FITE TV and Fox Sports have the rights to air this year’s WrestleMania, there’s speculation WWE may be moving away from showing the Showcase of the Immortals on the WWE Network. ESPN is a network that was rumored to have interest in the streaming rights to WWE’s biggest show of the year.
In an interview with Justin Barrasso of SI.com, ESPN’s Senior Director of Programming Brent Colborne discussed the network’s current working relationship and refused to give any further detail on what might be part of their relationship long-term.
In respect to airing WWE WrestleManias while the COVID-19 pandemic is devastating the world:
“The collaboration between both entities came together in a quick and timely fashion. March 12 was the first day of all the events falling off the calendar, and it was pretty quickly thereafter, in discussion and communication with WWE, that the idea came up for ESPN to acquire some really incredible content in three WrestleManias for three consecutive Sundays.”
So far, the ratings for those shows have been pretty good.
When asked to comment on the rumors or possibility of ESPN and WWE working together for next year’s WrestleMania, Cobrone wasn’t keen on giving much information. He noted:
“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.”
These comments won’t stop people from speculating that WWE is moving away from the model of airing PPV’s that they’ve done over the past six years and trying to capitalize on the magnitude and profitability of their biggest single-night asset (well, of course, except for this year.)