WWE will return to airing live episodes of RAW, SmackDown and NXT from the Performance Center in Orlando.
Reports suggested that the original plan post-WrestleMania was to tape shows until May 10, but that’s obviously changed.
The reason behind that is certainly interesting.
According to an update from Dave Meltzer and F4WOnline, it’s a decision that came directly from Vince McMahon last Friday.
It’s apparently shocked many in the company, with some questioning if continuing at all in this climate is the correct decision.
But the report goes on to state that there’s a fear within WWE that their TV contracts with NBC Universal and Fox could be under threat if shows aren’t aired live.
Under both deals, only a certain number of the weekly episodes can be pre-taped.
For RAW that number is three – with Christmas and two shows during the European tour earmarked – leaving 49 live shows to fulfil the deal.
SmackDown has a similar obligation and the fear within WWE is that if those contracts are violated, TV networks will have grounds to withhold money or change the deals.
With no ticket sales or house shows during the coronavirus crisis, the company are relying on television revenue more than ever.
In reality, you’d think WWE are in a solid position anyway, given they are one of very few major sporting products to push on during the pandemic.
Therefore, F4WOnline suggest it’s highly unlikely either FOX or NBC would try to change contracts and damage relationships over something as trivial as pre-taped vs live shows.
But with TV networks losing revenue and fearing cuts themselves, McMahon is moving to ensure WWE remain in the best possible economic position.
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