Variety is reporting that sports network ESPN has struck a deal with WWE to air classic WrestleMania events on Sundays in an attempt to fill their schedule amidst a slew of Coronavirus-related sports cancellations. The airings will start this Sunday with WrestleMania 30, which will air on the cable network and streaming on its mobile app in full starting at 7 PM Eastern.
Burke Magnus, executive vice president of programming at ESPN, provided Variety with a prepared statement about the new programming.
“This unique opportunity is a byproduct of the terrific working relationship we’ve enjoyed with WWE over the years and the unprecedented circumstances we all find ourselves in. WrestleMania is one of the most popular global events in sports and entertainment and the spectacular content it provides will be a treat for fans.”
This year’s WrestleMania will also be affected by the Coronavirus, as it will go forward in several locations with no crowd in a two-night special event.
Update: WWE has since issued the following details in a new press release confirming the broadcast plans for the next three weeks:
WrestleMania 30 (airs Sunday, March 22, 7 p.m. ET) – from April 6, 2014
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Hulk Hogan and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin kick off the 30th anniversary of the “Showcase of the Immortals” before a record-breaking crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar attempts to end the most celebrated streak in WWE history, Undertaker’s 21 consecutive victories at WrestleMania; witness the emotional culmination of Daniel Bryan’s “Yes! movement” in a championship triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Randy Orton and Batista.
WrestleMania 32 (airs Sunday, March 29, 7 p.m. ET) – from April 3, 2016
The largest crowd in WWE history filled Jerry World at AT&T Stadium for WrestleMania 32, as more than 101,000 fans witness the “Show of Shows.” Roman Reigns takes on Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event; Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks in a match to crown the first-ever WWE Women’s Champion; the world famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders welcome The Rock to AT&T Stadium; and Shane McMahon stuns the WWE Universe with a death-defying leap in his Hell in a Cell match against Undertaker.
WrestleMania 35 (airs Sunday, April 5, 3 p.m. ET) – from April 7, 2019
WrestleMania at MetLife Stadium features a significant moment in WWE’s Women’s Evolution as the “baddest woman on the planet” Ronda Rousey takes on Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair in a “Winner Take All” Triple Threat match for the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championships, marking the first time women were the main event at WrestleMania; Kofi Kingston finally gets a shot at realizing his lifelong dream of becoming WWE Champion against Daniel Bryan; and Batista faces his one-time friend and mentor Triple H in a “no holds barred” match.
“It is a privilege for us to deliver historic WrestleMania content to our world-class partners at ESPN and provide more premium programming to our fans; putting smiles on their faces particularly during this trying time,” said Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer, WWE. “We look forward to celebrating WrestleMania history with ESPN as we head into our two-night pop culture extravaganza on April 4 and 5.”
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