The move comes as WWE is about to launch a digital network on Feb. 24, which will include all of its 12 PPVs and a slate of original series beginning after Sunday’s “Elimination Chamber.” Company is charging $9.99 a month for subscriptions to the service.
Dish said it was upset that the network was being launched without WWE’s TV partners. “As WWE enters the increasingly fragmented media world by themselves, Dish will continue to consider the value of WWE pay-per-view on an event by event basis,” it said.
On its Facebook page, Dish also posted: “Dish will not offer the ‘WWE Elimination Chamber’ PPV on 2/23. WWE is not willing to adjust their PPV costs to satellite and cable companies, which is unfair to their customers. We need to re-focus our efforts to support partners that better serve Dish customers. Other satellite and cable companies, including DirecTV, have also expressed they may no longer provide WWE PPV events in the future.”
The satcaster will continue to air WWE’s shows, including “Monday Night Raw,” “Friday Night SmackDown,” “Main Event” and “Total Divas” on USA Network, Syfy, Ion and E!, respectively.
In January, after WWE announced details of the new WWE Network at the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, DirecTV released a statement saying, “Clearly we need to quickly re-evaluate the economics and viability of their business with us, as it now appears the WWE feels they do not need their PPV distributors.”
Dish is making the bold move of passing on collecting revenue from WWE’s PPVs as providers say the live events have seen audience numbers decline over the years, and that the launch of the WWE Network will only “accelerate that trend,” according to DirecTV.
WWE responded to Dish’s announcement with the following statement: “WWE is pleased that the majority of our cable and satellite pay-per-view distributors are giving our fans an option to purchase traditional Pay-Per-Views as we prepare to launch WWE Network on Monday, February 24. Unfortunately, Dish will not be doing so. We hope Dish will reconsider for this Sunday’s ‘Elimination Chamber’ pay-per-view event and especially for ‘WrestleMania 30.’”