Before the WWE Network came to fruition and before WWE sold its content to Peacock, another partner nearly locked up WWE content.
The WWE Network launched in 2014, giving fans a one-stop-shop for all WWE needs, including live pay-per-view events. In 2021, Peacock acquired the streaming rights to WWE content, signing a five-year deal with the company worth a reported $1 billion.
Speaking to Bill Simmons on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Stephanie McMahon revealed they almost sold the streaming rights in 2014, but the length of the deal was too long.
"We started looking at it before the pandemic, maybe even two years ago, we started looking at the space. It's funny because my dad has always taught me that you have to stay slightly ahead of the curve. You never want to be so far ahead that people can't get it and you never want to be behind, you want to be slightly ahead. When you looked at the landscape and see these big-time players start to make moves, big-time players with a lot of capital that could be invested in technology and infrastructure. We're not a technology company, we're a content company. It was a smart move for us to launch [in 2014], and it was scary. We actually had a linear deal. Our fans all said they wanted a WWE channel and we started working on a linear deal. We were in redline, but the partner wanted to lock up our rights for 10 years. Vince doesn't do 10-year deals, at least he wouldn't at that time. He took a step back, we did more research, and we found our audience was five times more likely to watch online videos than the norm. We decided right then and there that we would own our own destiny. In eight months, we launched the WWE Network, which is pretty unheard of," she said.
Stephanie didn't comment on which company WWE nearly partnered with in before launching the WWE Network.
Peacock is now the exclusive home of WWE events in the United States. Both nights of WrestleMania will stream live on Peacock.
You can view the current lineup for WrestleMania 37 by clicking here.
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