WWE negotiating free-to-air highlights package in the UK

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WWE appears to be doing everything they can now in order to encourage more fans to watch their product and improve interest.

Just this past week, WWE announced that Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff will be the Executive Director of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live respectively.

The hope is that their creative input will help boost TV ratings for the red and blue brand, as well as live attendances for the shows themselves and pay-per-views.

In the UK, it has always been difficult to watch Raw and SmackDown live each week due to the time which it is broadcasted in the early hours of the morning.

Also, fans haven't been able to watch wrestling on TV since it's been behind a paywall on Sky Sports. 

Free highlights haven't been available for UK WWE fans the early 2000s when Channel 4 aired a WWE highlights show and some main events. That could soon be about to change.

According to SportsBusiness Media, via Wrestling Inc, WWE is currently negotiating a free-to-air highlights package with broadcasters in the UK in hopes of increasing exposure for the product.

The report says that the rights would begin in 2020, but there's no end date yet as that would depend on which broadcaster ends up with the rights.

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This isn't the only change coming to WWE broadcasting in the UK, as they'll soon be ending their three-decade partnership with Sky Sports.

Earlier this month, WWE signed a multi-year deal with BT Sport to air Raw and SmackDown in the UK and that deal begins next year too.

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This move by WWE to broadcast free-to-air highlights of Raw and SmackDown in the UK could be a reaction to AEW's deal with ITV for their weekly show to broadcast on ITV 4 later this year, which is free to view.

With this in mind, as well as taking into account the BBC has never shown an interest in wrestling and Channel 5 has Impact Wrestling, Channel 4 is the most likely destinations for a free-to-air WWE highlights package in the UK.

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