The WWE Network is so new that its facing plenty of growing pains. Despite the problems that have beset the online broadcast network, some luminaries in the sports world, including ESPN personality Bill Simmons are singing its praises.
Simmons is a self described “wrestling junkie” so he’s obviously biased, but in a recent Grantland article he wrote about his excitement over the launch of the WWE Network. Simmons actually teamed up with David Shoemaker in order to talk about the troubled launch and the heights it could eventually reach.
When the two were talking about what they expected from the WWE Network, both said they never really expected it to actually launch, especially given the troubles the WCW was seeing on a financial basis. Simmons said he expected the WWE to have a network that would be in the high channels on something like DirecTV. He never saw the option of making it an online only endeavor.
Shoemaker followed that comment up by saying that he initially thought the offering by the WWE was going to be something that was rather insufferable because it was planned to be an “over the air” network. He believes the changes that make the WWE network online only and offered through devices like the Xbox 360 will make it better.
One feature both columnists liked was the price for prescription. As the Toledo Free Press pointed out, the WWE Network is offered up for $9.95 per month. That seems to be a sort of universal asking price for online subscription services. Other subscriptions such as Xbox Live and sports recruiting web service Rivals.com also have a $9.95 price.
With that monthly payment, subscribers have access to every pay-per-view event the WWE has ever put on. The same kind of events from the WCW and extreme championship wrestling are also available online and through a growing number of devices.
What the WWE Network is offering up sounds a little too good to be true for wrestling fans and at least now it just might be. Since the WWE launched the network at the end of February, there have been a few hiccups along the way.
The good news is that the wrestling federation has the deep pockets that could be employed to fix the issues. The negative is that Vince McMahon doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to launching new service. While the WWE is popular enough to power the endeavor among its fans, it’s going to need members quickly.
If signups are small and problems persist, the WWE Network could be short lived even if ESPN personalities are behind them.