By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE issued the following press release on Monday to announce the extension of its television deal with PP Sports in China.
Stamford, Conn., June 24, 2019 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) and PP Sports have extended their partnership with a new multi-year agreement to continue delivering WWE’s weekly flagship programming live and in Mandarin across China.
In addition to airing Raw and SmackDown, PP Sports will continue to offer WWE Network as a subscription video-on-demand service featuring all of WWE’s monthly pay-per-view events, including WrestleMania®. As part of the extended agreement, PP Sports will also leverage their co-managed sports channels on other popular platforms Youku and Migu, significantly increasing the reach of WWE programming while driving engagement for fans in China.
“As the exclusive digital partner of WWE in China, PP Sports has delivered more than 300 episodes of WWE programming over the past three years. By providing exciting content through localized and targeted promotions, we have seen tremendous growth of WWE fans throughout the country,” said Dongmao Ge, Deputy General Manager of PP Sports. “Our vision is to reach and engage with more fans with WWE’s family-friendly entertainment programming so we are excited to extend this partnership.”
“PP Sports has been a valued partner that has helped us grow WWE’s passionate fanbase in China,” said Jay Li, WWE Vice President & General Manager, Greater China. “We are pleased to renew our partnership and look forward to continuing to provide WWE’s unique blend of action-packed, family-friendly entertainment.”
The extension comes as WWE is actively recruiting elite Chinese athletes and performers in advance of its largest tryout in China to date. The tryout takes place in Shanghai from July 15-18 where up to 50 male and female athletes will have the opportunity to showcase their abilities with the goal of being selected to train at the state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, U.S.
Last month, WWE announced the company’s return to China for the fourth consecutive year when WWE Live Shanghai comes to the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Saturday, September 21. Fans attending WWE Live Shanghai will see their favorite WWE Superstars including Roman Reigns™, Kofi Kingston™, Charlotte Flair™, Asuka™, Finn Bálor™, Xavier Woods™, The IIconics™, Shinsuke Nakamura™ and Kevin Owens™, as well as Chinese nationals Xia Li™ and Boa™, who are currently training at the WWE Performance Center.
Powell’s POV: The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. WWE has committed to doing more in China, so the extension of its television partnership seems like a logical move.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Brian Fritz of the Between The Ropes podcast discussing WWE’s creative and ratings struggles, Bray Wyatt following the Firefly Funhouse, WWE Stomping Grounds, NJPW G1 Opening Night, and ROH’s issues, what would happen if AEW opted to run head-to-head with WWE Raw, and much more.