Today should have been the day that WWE launched its Network here in the UK. However, on Monday night, the company announced the following:
The launch of the WWE Network in the UK will be delayed given discussions with potential partners. A launch date will be announced by Nov. 1.
Don't be fooled. There's only one 'potential partner' and that's Sky.
I have noted numerous times on this very blog that Sky owns an exclusive deal to air WWE content in this country so the Network, as the US knows it, will compromise the agreement between the two parties.
And if you think I'm making this up, just look at the exclusivity Sky has with NFL programming.
The NFL Gamepass over-the-top Internet service blacks out the 6pm and 9:25pm Sunday games that air on Sky Sports for a period of twenty-four hours.
With programmes like NXT and the monthly PPVs airing on Sky via Sky Sports and Sky Sports Box Office, having a WWE Network at the equivalent of $9.99 in this country would have been undercutting Sky.
So, what happens now?
My best guess is the UK Network model will be based on Canada. The Canadian Network has its very own channel (ie not Internet-based like the actual Network). This would enable Sky to have its fingers in the pie and for WWE not to screw up a long-existing partnership in this country.
Personally, I would prefer the US version and did subscribe for the first six months when it debuted. I stopped subscribing because I didn't seem to get good service from the IP cloaking service I used to pretend I was a US customer and wanted to see what happened on these shores. I'm going to hold on a little longer to see what happens.
Whenever that may be.