Her Majesty’s subjects won’t have to worry about missing out on sophisticated cultural entertainment from the former colonies across the pond. World Wrestling Entertainment announced that it has extended its relationship with British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) for another five years. That will take the WWE-BSkyB deal to the 25-year mark.
The new distribution agreement, which takes effect in January 2010, gives BSkyB the exclusive UK broadcast rights of WWE’s weekly programming and special events, providing content to more than 15 million homes across the UK and Ireland.
BSkyB will carry ten-and-a-half first run hours of WWE’s weekly programs. RAW, SmackDown, ECW, Bottom Line, AfterBurn, WWE Vintage Collection and This Week in WWE will all air in high definition on Sky Sports, along with five monthly specials annually. WWE Experience and the brand new WWE Superstars will be broadcast on Sky1, also available on Sky1 HD.
BSkyB will carry eight WWE special events annually on Sky Box Office, including WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam and Survivor Series. WWE events on Sky Box Office will air live and in HD.
Announcing the deal, Andrew Whitaker, President of International for WWE, said: “The new agreement sees our broadcast partnership with BSkyB reach a history-making 25 years; there is no greater testimony to the mutually beneficial nature of our relationship. It has been pivotal to WWE reaching the new heights of popularity we now enjoy in the UK. We look forward to continuing to grow our brand presence with BSkyB.”
Sky Sports Managing Director, Barney Francis, added: “Our relationship with WWE goes back many years, since our network began in 1989. WWE fans have grown up watching all the big events and weekly programmes on Sky. We are delighted to once again extend our relationship and offer our viewers the globally renowned sports entertainment which is WWE for another five years – and all available in high definition.”