SportsBusinessDaily.com published an article on Monday that includes many new details on the upcoming WWE Network, including a firm launch date, the scope of the channel’s distribution at launch lots more. Here are some highlights of what we now know:
- WWE is looking to launch the Network on April 1st, 2012 – the day of the company’s biggest pay-per-view of the year, WrestleMania XXVIII.
- WWE executives have told cable and satellite operators that it is expecting to reach 40 million homes at launch – a huge number for an upstart network.
- Comcast executives are representing WWE in its negotiations to get picked up by the nations other top providers, including Time Warner Cable, Cox and Bright House Networks.
- WWE also expanded its programming search beyond wrestling, which their sources indicated could include some professional team sports.
- WWE has leased space in South Norwalk, Connecticut (close to the company’s headquarters in Stanford) dedicated to the Network. WWE has not yet named a President of the WWE Network, although it’s said they are looking for somebody with reality-show experience. WWE has retained Sucherman Consulting Group to hire 200 employees to staff the network.
- WWE’s Chief Marketing Officer, Michelle Wilson is overseeing the launch of the Network.
- The article states that “most, if not all” of WWE’s annual 13 pay-per-view events would migrate to the WWE Network. Early surveys by WWE indicated that the “Big 4″ traditional shows (WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series & the Royal Rumble) would air exclusively on the Network. Later, another survey indicated WWE had changed their mind on that plan and would have the “Big 4″ remain on pay-per-view – with the other “off-brand” shows airing on the Network.