Extensive Update On The Launch Of The WWE Network & Details On A Potential Deal With DirecTV That Fell Apart

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There was some chatter online a couple of weeks ago that WWE was looking at potential partners for the WWE Network to lighten the financial burden. WWE then tried to get word out they were not looking for partners even though they were. Dave Meltzer, who first reported the story, ran a retraction from his original report.

We're told the company "freaked out" when word leaked because they didn't want potential partners to know they were soliciting other offers. The main deal WWE was hoping to get done would have been a partnership with DirecTV where the network would have been exclusive to the satellite provider domestically, much like they are with the NFL's Sunday Ticket package. However, we're told DirecTV was not willing to help fund the network.

Our source notes DirecTV was looking to offer WWE a very favorable split of the subscription revenue, much more than WWE would typically receive from cable or satellite providers. What DirecTV would get out of it would be the incentive for wrestling fans to switch to DirecTV while WWE would get to keep the lion's share of the money generated by the network, while also finally having an agreement with a major carrier so they could actually launch the network.

The downside is a deal of this nature would surely alienate the other providers which WWE still depends on to help promote their pay-per-view events. WWE wanted a multimillion annual rights fee for exclusivity of the service to help offset some of the costs of launching the network.

The last we heard, the DirecTV deal was dead and WWE was looking at other potential partners. This is what resulted in the Meltzer report, followed by a retraction with WWE frantically looking to erase word they were looking at possible network partners.

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