WWE recently issued a press release about how they've reached a deal with the SuperSport channel in Africa to air Raw and SmackDown Live. Unfortunately though, Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that this may not be such a good thing. Apparently SuperSport is a pay channel, which could have an affect on South Africa, which is currently WWE's third-largest market behind the United States and India.
Although this new deal will give WWE more possible exposure throughout Africa and make them accessible to millions of new viewers, moving to a pay channel reportedly could cost them quite a few viewers in the country of South Africa. With a population of approximately 44 million people, Raw and SmackDown Live usually draw about 2 million South African viewers on a weekly basis.
One of the good things about it though is that now the shows will air live for the African viewers. Raw and SmackDown had both previously been edited down to one hour for the African viewers.
This is the press release that WWE issued on their website a few weeks ago:
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA and STAMFORD, Conn., July 20, 2017 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) and SuperSport, Africa’s premier sports broadcaster, today announced a new, multi-year agreement to broadcast WWE programming live for the first time in more than 50 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Starting Monday, August 28, SuperSport will air WWE’s flagship shows Raw® and SmackDown® as well as WWE specials, including WrestleMania® and SummerSlam®.
“WWE is a global phenomenon, so securing the broadcast rights for SuperSport is a terrific coup,” said Gideon Khobane, chief executive of SuperSport. “The athletes involved are larger than life figures who command huge followings. At long last our viewers will get to share in this entertainment spectacle in high definition. I look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with WWE.”
“SuperSport is a best-in-class partner who shares our vision and passion for engaging with and entertaining our fans,” said Ed Wells, WWE Executive Vice President, International. “Televising WWE programming live in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time is an important milestone for us, and we look forward to working with SuperSport to cultivate new fans in the region.”
SuperSport channels S3, S4, S9 and SS10 will televise Raw on Tuesdays and SmackDown on Wednesdays, offering both live telecasts and same-day re-airs, and will broadcast all WWE specials live, including WrestleMania®, SummerSlam®, Survivor Series® and Royal Rumble®. All programs will be available with English commentary and on demand.
WWE programming will also be made available across some of DStv’s general entertainment channels.
To celebrate the new partnership, SuperSport will televise the prior week’s episodes of Raw and SmackDown on Monday, August 28.
SuperSport is Africa’s premier sports broadcaster, producing and broadcasting local and international sport for GOtv and DStv pay TV customers across sub-Saharan Africa.
SuperSport provides a mix of 35 channels, offering a wide selection of the best local and international sport action across a multitude of disciplines. Now available on DStv and GOtv as well as on SuperSport.com and DStv Now in 50 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide in 20 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than 180 countries. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo.
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