Who knows how much of a thing this will actually become given the tendency of the CRTC to basically let big media do whatever the hell it wants, but I feel like I should probably say my piece just in case. WWE Network Fighting to Stay on TV in Canada
– According to the Wrestling Observer, the WWE Network is having to go through some legal hurdles to stay on TV in Canada. As previously reported, the Network has a deal with Rogers Communication to broadcast through them and they may be in trouble in that respect.
The site says that the company is up against the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, who believe that the network is stepping on the toes of the Fight Network and other Canadian channels.
What other Canadian channels would those be, exactly? Does Super Channel still broadcast some boxing and MMA amongst whatever else it does?
Beyond the Fight Network, I can’t think of a single station up here that comes anywhere close to what WWE Network offers, and even the Fight Network itself is a pretty big stretch. Aside from ancient Ring of Honor matches, matches from Mexico and Japan repackaged with English commentary, Ultimate Classic Wrestling (some of which is neither ultimate nor classic) and Traditional Championship Wrestling all of which run a new hour of programming a week if we’re being generous, there’s no wrestling to speak of on that channel. It’s mostly boxing and MMA with some other martial arts, news shows and some combat themed movies thrown in.
They’re not even in the same price range, either. WWE Network costs me $11.99 per month, while Fight Network is $2.50…I think. I can’t remember exactly because we built our own station packages as part of a deal when we first got digital cable, and it was one of my picks. But the point is that anyone who subscribes to WWE Network is obviously going to want it. Rogers hasn’t had a chance to stuff it into one of those sports packages yet, so you have to actively and specifically sign up for it. And the only reason a person would do that is because they’re not getting what’s on offer there from somewhere else at a better price.
I don’t think the Fight Network has anything to worry about. I’m not the only crossover fan in the world, which is the audience that FN is going for. Even though I watch quite a bit less MMA and boxing than I used to, I still keep it around because it’s cheap and I like having it for when I want to watch those things, plus TCW Wrestling is pretty fun. Unless they’re dirt broke, anyone in my position will likely take both services. And anyone who watches other combat sports but doesn’t like wrestling isn’t signing up for WWE Network anyway, so where’s the problem?
I know I’ve yelled at you for this very thing before, but please, CRTC, do nothing this time. Let Rogers do what it wants here within reason, of course. Anyone who tells you that the new wrestling station interferes with his competing service or that it puts the Canadian TV industry in jeopardy is either coming at you from a self-interested, consumer unfriendly position or is simply uninformed. And I’m not just saying that because it’s a lot nicer to pay $12 for pay-per-views and a shitload of bonus content than it is $55 for just a pay-per-view. It would be the truth even if I wasn’t a diehard wrestling fan who would be tempted to punch things if you took the dream away from me.