ESPN's Senior Director of Programming Brent Colborne recently spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated about ESPN's relationship with WWE. ESPN has aired a significant amount of WWE content as of late due to coronavirus-related schedule changes in the pro sports world.
It was noted that while sports purists may balk at the idea of WWE airing on the world's premiere sports channel, Colborne says WWE's presence has added excitement to the network during an uncertain stretch of time.
"The collaboration between both entities came together in a quick and timely fashion," said Colborne. "March 12 was the first day of all the events falling off the calendar, and it was pretty quickly thereafter, in discussion and communication with WWE, that the idea came up for ESPN to acquire some really incredible content in three WrestleManias for three consecutive Sundays."
Colborne was asked if there will ever be a time, potentially as soon as next year with WrestleMania 37, that we see WrestleMania airing live on ESPN. He did not dismiss the idea, but said right now they're focused on airing WWE content to help get them through the short-term.
"It's a great question," said Colborne. "We're always open to discussing a lot of different ideas with various leagues, but right now the focus for what we're doing with WWE is on the short-term.
"We felt like this was a really good content opportunity for us to show these three encores, and a really good promotional opportunity for WWE to help utilize our reach and our brand to create more excitement for WrestleMania this upcoming weekend."
As noted, ESPN has aired WrestleMania 30 and WrestleMania 32 replays over the past few Sundays, and the replays have done well for the network. You can read the viewership report for both replays by clicking here. You can also click here for details on ESPN's WrestleMania 35 replay and marathon of content on WWE Champion Brock Lesnar that is scheduled for this coming Sunday, which is Day Two of WrestleMania 36.