News broke yesterday that NBC will be getting rid of their NBC Sports Network later this year, which could potentially have an affect on future WWE programming. NBC Sports was the primary home for the NHL, with speculation being that the league will be moved onto the Peacock service, or potentially the USA Network (also owned by NBC).
On the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio Dave Meltzer says that there’s a really good chance that this will change NXT programming, as Wednesday nights are big for hockey during the regular season, and even bigger when the playoffs begin. Reports are that if the NHL does move to USA it will take priority over wrestling, but is not expected to impact Monday Night Raw in any way. For reference…NXT was preempted twice last year to allow for NHL games to be broadcast.
It is also revealed that NXT’s contract with USA comes to an end this October, and that if the NHL continues with NBC the yellow-and-black brand may instead be moved to Tuesday or Thursday.
The NHL contract with NBC ends with this season, the ESPN is looking to get in, but the NHL, smartly, wants to sell to two networks, NBC and also ESPN, like other sports with two networks, so that’s their idea. There is a good chance that USA will continue with hockey, and this will elevate the USA Network by having hockey on, because it’s more first-run programming, it’s a more prestigious audience. I don’t think this will affect RAW, what’s going to be difficult, during the Stanley Cup, there’s games constantly.
The NHL has double-headers every Wednesday night during the season, and it’s a big night for the playoffs, and they already preempted NXT twice for games that didn’t happen, but they have moved NXT because of it. The NXT contract for television ends in October. The NHL, if they re-sign with NBC, if they keep them, there’s a real good chance that NXT will be moved, most likely to Thursday, but it could be Tuesday. The NHL is going to mean a lot more than playing silly pro-wrestling games.
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(H/T and transcribed by Heel By Nature)