WWE using USA to hedge on its NXT bet

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Photo Credit: Destina

I’m not sure what surprises me more: that WWE still wants to air NXT on WWE Network, or that USA consented to it.

I’m going to come down on the side of: what is USA thinking?

So now, not only do fans who want to watch both NXT and AEW, when the upstart debuts on TNT in October, have the option of DVR’g NXT, watching it later, and skipping the commercials, but now they can avoid USA and its commercial sponsors entirely.

Interesting concept there.

And USA is reportedly paying WWE $1 million per episode for the broadcast rights?

The value of wrestling to broadcasters is that it’s treated as sports, and thus it’s assumed that most viewers who want to tune in will watch it live, and thus have to endure the ad spots in between segments of content.

That’s why you’re paying WWE any amount of money if you’re USA.

WWE wanting to continue airing NXT on WWE Network, which it plans to do, on Thursdays, and of course also on streaming, is also a curious move.

What this is: a hedge.

WWE knows that NXT is a big reason a lot of its WWE Network viewers keep their subscriptions active, so there’s that.

Another hedge: if NXT fails to beat AEW in the ratings, well, there’s a built-in excuse.

Some of our viewers are still watching on WWE Network.

You know this is coming.

USA is playing the role of sucker here.

Column by Chris Graham


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