UK wrestling coverage is set for a huge shakeup as BT Sport have won the rights to show WWE.
You’d never really think that the TV channel showing a particular sport would matter so much but as fan reactions start to pour in for BT Sport’s new coverage deal for WWE, you can tell that it’s struck a chord with a lot of fans.
BT have spared no expense in promoting their new deal to show WWE with wrestling-themed vehicles being spotted all over London today, (January 15th).
But as many praise the new deal and are looking forward to watching, social media has been awash with disgruntled fans who now face a choice of paying more or not watching at all.
WWE is moving!
After 30 years of broadcasting wrestling action, Sky Sports, have lost the rights to show WWE in the UK.
Instead, BT Sport, who have recently shaken up the UK’s football coverage market, have won the rights and their coverage starts from January 15th and will run for what is described as a ‘multi-year agreement.’
BT Sport will show all the WWE action from Raw, Smackdown and NXT on its standard channels while the pay-per-view events such as WrestleMania will be available on BT Sport Box Office.
Why has WWE moved to BT?
In the official announcement on the BT Sport deal, WWE’s senior vice president and group general manager, Stefan Kastenmüller, said: “We are pleased to begin an exciting new chapter for WWE in the region as we join BT Sport’s innovative offering and impressive portfolio of premium sports content.”
This statement doesn’t give a lot away, however, and just references the already bustling amount of sports content on BT that also includes Premier League, Champions League and Europa League football as well as Moto GP and UFC.
Chances are, Sky’s reign as exclusive broadcaster of WWE has come to an end because BT Sport were simply prepared to pay more for the rights, just as Channel 4 plucked The Great British Bake Off from the BBC in 2017.
Or if you go further back, how Sky themselves took the Formula 1 rights from the free-to-air BBC and subsequently Channel 4 who are now limited to showing just highlights.
Sky Sports customers aren’t pleased
WWE’s move to BT Sport has left loyal Sky customers somewhat disappointed as they’re left with a choice of forking out more money to pay for BT or to simply stop watching the sport.
Many have taken to social media since BT revealed they have won the rights to WWE to voice their displeasure.
One Twitter user commented: “Absolutely atrocious decision. Will be back on sky after contract ends. You’re gonna lose so many UK viewers.”
While another added: “I think the only problem is how many will move from Sky to BT just for the WWE? Me and my lads love it but i’m not willing to pay the extra money just to have it for the wrestling.”
And finally, one Twitter user commented with this gif, to sum up their feelings:
However, while Sky customers aren’t happy, BT Sport regulars will no doubt be pleased that another sport has been added to an already impressive collection as this fan makes clear: “To be honest @btsport is going to be the best thing that has happened to @WWE in a long time, contestant advertisement, their very own twitter handle and they embrace the brand, something #SkySports never did! Roll on #WWEonBT 2020 and beyond.”