Discovery Strikes Deal for WWE Programming in Italy

Courtesy of USA Network
WWE Smackdown

Previously aired on Comcast-owned Sky Italia, the wrestling company's content will become available on Discovery streaming service DPlay Plus and network DMAX under a multi-year agreement.

Sports entertainment powerhouse WWE is moving its TV content in Italy from Sky Italia, part of Comcast-owned pay TV giant Sky, to Discovery.

Under an exclusive multi-year agreement unveiled on Wednesday, WWE’s weekly flagship programming will become available, live and on-demand, on Discovery streaming service DPlay Plus with original U.S. commentary, along with versions featuring Italian commentary on the firm's DMAX network.

Covered by the deal are live versions of Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown, as well as NXT in on-demand form. All three shows, with Raw being a shortened version, will also be offered with Italian commentary by Luca Franchini and Michele Posa on free-to-air channel DMAX. WWE programming will launch on the Discovery services on July 1.

In addition, weekly recap series Bottom Line and Afterburn will be available with original commentary on Dplay Plus. WWE’s monthly pay-per-view events, including WrestleMania and SummerSlam, are not part of the programming deal, financial details of which weren't disclosed. Those events will stream exclusively on the WWE Network in Italy.

"We are thrilled to embark on a new chapter for WWE in Italy as we bring our unique blend of action-packed, family-friendly sports entertainment to Discovery’s free-to-air and premium channels," said Stefan Kastenmüller, WWE senior vp & group general manager. "We are excited that our relationship with Discovery is enhancing the fan experience in Italy with both primetime and family-friendly time slots."

"We are pleased to announce this agreement with WWE, which is of strategic importance for our group, and will allow us to offer our audience a unique and innovative content proposition: premium content on Dplay Plus at a very competitive price and WWE highlights on free-to-air on DMAX,” said Alessandro Araimo, managing director, Discovery Italy. "WWE has conquered a very wide audience, and we are confident that our channels and platforms can help to further expand the very large Italian fanbase."

Dplay Plus costs 3.99 euros ($4.50) per month. DMAX features such programming as rugby and e-sports. Sky previously also did not renew WWE programming deals in the U.K., where BT Sport and ViacomCBS are now airing the wrestling content, and Germany, where streamer DAZN recently became the new firm's partner.