WWE Network Reversal: Dish Relents, Will Carry Wrestlemania

It looks like Dish Network subscribers will be able to purchase WWE’s Wrestlemania 30 after all, after the company initially pulled the wrestling powerhouse’s pay-per-views off its service after the launch of its online WWE Network.

The satellite company announced it will carry Wrestlemania 30 on Sunday, April 6, according to Philly.com. This doesn’t mean Dish will carry WWE PPVs in the future, however.

(Dish Network will) continue to evaluate future WWE pay-per-view events on an event-by-event basis.

After WWE Network launched earlier this year, several cable providers threatened to pull WWE PPVs off their system going forward, but only Dish followed through. The satellite company also did not carry February’s Elimination Chamber event, issuing the following statement:

Please note that WWE is not willing to adjust PPV costs to satellite/cable companies, which is unfair to their customers. DISH needs to re-focus efforts to support partners that better serve DISH customers and other satellite/cable companies, including DirecTV, have also expressed they may no longer provide WWE PPV events in the future.

Likely, for at least Wrestlemania, it makes more business sense for Dish Network to carry it, despite a much larger cost for consumer’s than WWE Network’s $9.99/month subscription. Entertainment site What Culture posited a few reasons for the about-face:

  • Dish Network stood alone in pulling WWE off its schedule. Instead of pressuring WWE, the company’s customers likely adjusted their plans for the event to watch it elsewhere.
  • Pay-per-view buys for this year’s Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber have remained stable. This year’s Rumble had 465,000 worldwide buys and 317,000 North American buys, which compares favorably to the 2012 event’s 483,000 worldwide and 299,000 North American. Elimination Chamber 2014 had 183,000 worldwide buys despite Dish pulling out; in 2012, that event had 194,000 worldwide buys.
  • Wrestlemania is the most successful wrestling pay-per-view of the year, and likely generates as much as $3 million for Dish Network alone. While the WWE Network will capture many of those buys, it will still be a big pay day for the satellite company.

There is also some concern about whether WWE Network will be able to handle the strain of so many people trying to stream Mania live. Inquisitr posted an article earlier this month that explored the streaming reliability. A previous live stream for Live NXT dropped for many subscribers.

Overall, WWE Network is a tremendous value. It provides access to wrestling events from past WWE, WCW, ECW and more, as well as offering every current pay-per-view through live streaming for just $9.99 per month instead of the average $45 to $60 to buy each event separately. Some may even consider still buying the event from their cable subscriber due to questions of streaming reliability.

Do you subscribe to the WWE Network? Are you worried about the streaming reliability? What do you think about Dish Network’s about-face?