WWE Signs 10-Year Canadian TV Deal With Rogers

WWE Tea Party Rant - H 2013

WWE Tea Party Rant - H 2013

The U.S. sports entertainment firm expanded its agreement in Canada to include the launch of the WWE Network north of the border.

TORONTO – The World Wrestling Entertainment in May inked a new U.S. TV deal with NBCUniversal, and now has struck a 10-year exclusive TV and digital distribution deal for Canada with Rogers Communications.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but includes Rogers, Canada's largest cable and wireless phone provider, launching the WWE Network north of the border as a premium channel.

"We are excited to expand our partnership with Rogers as we look for innovative ways to grow our brand and further the reach of our programming in Canada through their vast distribution channels and marketing platforms,” said Gerrit Meier, WWE executive vp international in a statement on Thursday.

The WWE is looking to Rogers and its launch of the WWE Network in Canada to help continue a pivot from a reliance on pay-per-view cable and satellite revenue to targeting viewers with a digital network.

Toronto-based Rogers also becomes the exclusive distributor of WWE’s programming, including pay-per-view events, in Canada through 2024.

That includes the rights to Raw, SmackDown and Main Event for Rogers' Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet NOW and Rogers Anyplace TV platforms.

WWE programming has long been a mainstay on Canadian TV, with Raw first airing on TSN before moving to The Score cable sports channel in 2006.

Rogers subsequently acquired The Score and re-launched the channel as Sportsnet 360.

“This landmark deal is a win-win for WWE fans in Canada,” said Scott Moore, president of NHL & Sportsnet at Rogers in his own statement on Thursday.

The WWE deal is the latest in a TV sport right acquisition binge by Rogers, which earlier this year unveiled a $4.9 billion exclusive TV deal with the National Hockey League.