HomeNewsWrestlingUnited Kingdom

BT Sport to replace Sky as WWE partner

BT Sport has dislodged rival pay-television broadcaster Sky as the exclusive home of WWE wrestling entertainment programming in the UK and Ireland.

BT Sport’s multi-year agreement will begin in January 2020, bringing to an end nearly three decades of WWE coverage on Sky.

The broadcaster will show the weekly Raw and SmackDown programmes and will work with WWE to create new digital and social media content for the UK and Irish markets.

WWE’s monthly pay-per-view events, including WrestleMania, will also be available via the BT Sport Box Office channel.

Additionally, BT Sport will offer same-day primetime re-runs of Raw on Tuesdays and SmackDown on Saturdays, as well as a two-hour version of Raw, a one-hour version of Raw and a one-hour version of SmackDown across its different channels.

Telecommunications company BT had reportedly expressed an interest in the current five-year cycle of WWE rights, from 2015 to 2019. However, Sky secured the rights during an exclusive period of negotiations.

The value of the new deal has not been disclosed, but it has previously been reported that WWE programming accounts for about 100,000 of Sky’s subscribers.

Most recent

Pay-television broadcaster BT Sport took advantage of Sky’s long-running concerns over wrestling body WWE’s OTT service to grab WWE rights in the UK and Ireland from its rival at a steep discount, SportBusiness Media understands.

As TikTok has grown into one of the world's most popular social-media apps during the past year, the short-form video-sharing platform has become an important tool for sports rights-holders to expand and engage their fanbases. 

Turkish agency Saran has negotiated a price reduction for rights to the English Premier League for the 2019-22 cycle, SportBusiness Media understands, the first time it has achieved this since acquiring the property at the turn of the decade.

Mola TV, the new entrant to Indonesia’s sports broadcasting market, is employing a novel strategy straddling pay-television, free-to-air and digital distribution channels to exploit the Premier League rights it has acquired for the upcoming 2019-22 cycle.