WWE was expected to launch the WWE Network today for fans in the UK. Within the hour of the launch, WWE announced via social media that the launch has been delayed until further notice.
WZ spoke with sources inside WWE who have informed us the delay was caused by a legal matter with Sky Sports.
For those unfamiliar, Sky Sports is the carrier of WWE pay-per-view content in The UK. A 2015 contract had already been negotiated upon for the distribution and payment of the WWE PPV’s. It seems Sky Sports has been disputing WWE over the legalities of the Network and its interference on their agreed upon deal. This has been the cause of the numerous delays for the information and launching in the UK stemming back to the original 10/1 launch date.
What is not yet clear is the probable communication breakdown with WWE announcing a launch to happen today, and then at the last minute having to delay it, again, appearing to be caused by Sky Sports.
A source in WWE told us the company could buyout the deal with Sky Sports but it would be a costly hit and potentially not worth it financially considering the Network hasn’t had as much financial success anywhere in the world as originally hoped.
Specifically, the new deal between WWE and BSkyB mandates all WWE PPV events will air on Sky Sports Box Office. Up until this year, 4 pay-per-views would air on Sky Sports at no extra charge for people who have the channel, while the remaining shows were on Sky Box Office at £14.95 per event.
We’re hoping to bring you more information as soon as we get it, but it should be noted that WWE is just as unhappy about the launch delay as the fans are. This is not something WWE just decided to do because the company was unprepared, the impression given to us was Sky Sports got involved and WWE was left unable to launch the Network.