ESPN will jump into the pro wrestling ring, teaming with WWE to telecast encore presentations of classic WrestleMania events beginning Sunday (March 22), the two parties announced Friday.
ESPN will air WrestleMania events in primetime over consecutive Sundays beginning March 22 with the 2014 WrestleMania 30 event. Additional telecasts include 2016’s WrestleMania 32 (March 29) and 2019’s WrestleMania 35 (April 5), said the sports network. The events will also air on the ESPN app.
“This unique opportunity is a byproduct of the terrific working relationship we’ve enjoyed with WWE over the years and the unprecedented circumstances we all find ourselves in,” said Burke Magnus, executive VP, programming, ESPN in a statement. “WrestleMania is one of the most popular global events in sports and entertainment and the spectacular content it provides will be a treat for fans.”
The ESPN telecasts will lead up to WrestleMania 36, which will be distributed live via pay-per-view and streamed on WWE Network over two days on April 4 and April 5.
“It is a privilege for us to deliver historic WrestleMania content to our world-class partners at ESPN and provide more premium programming to our fans; putting smiles on their faces particularly during this trying time,” said WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon in a statement. “We look forward to celebrating WrestleMania history with ESPN as we head into our two-night pop culture extravaganza on April 4 and 5.”
In other ESPN programming news, the sports network will showcase the high school appearances of such NBA stars as Carmelo Anthony, James Harden and LeBron James as part of an 18-hour block of classic McDonald’s All American Games and Jam Fests on ESPN2.
The smarter way to stay on top of the multichannel video marketplace. Sign up below.
R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.