For the first time, WrestleMania is being offered on the WWE Network, FiteTV, the Fox app and through your cable provider. The prices vary anywhere from free on the WWE Network to $60+ dollars elsewhere. It seems like an odd choice but the primary reason for doing this is to get as many eyes on the product as possible.
Offering the pay per view through multiple platforms means that people who wouldn’t normally know about WrestleMania will see it. If they didn’t know about WrestleMania then they are more willing to pay the full $60 price tag for the event through other apps because they don’t know that the Network is offering it for free right now. There are also places around the world who currently don’t offer the Network but do offer the other platforms which makes it their only option.
Another possible reason is because the WWE Network was the baby of Michelle Wilson and George Barrios, who were both unceremoniously released at the end of January. At the time it was rumored that their firings were due to a disagreement about how to monetize WrestleMania and this seems to prove all that.
Barrios and Wilson offered the WWE Network free every year for WrestleMania because they felt it was the best time to hook in new subscribers, but they had to really convince Vince McMahon. It was being said that McMahon was not only against the idea of giving their most profitable PPV away for free, but that he was the one who pushed for their original format that required a 6 month contractual commitment when subscribing.
Now with Wilson and Barrios gone, WrestleMania is once again being offered as a full priced PPV event. Some cable providers are offering the chance to buy only a single night of WrestleMania for $30+ instead of both nights for $60, despite the fact that WWE hasn’t announced which matches will be on what nights.
This is likely a trial which would lead to WrestleMania being left off the Network in future years if it’s successful.