WWF signs deal with The Score
The WWF has announced today that it has signed a three-year contract with Headline Sports - The Score Television Network to broadcast SmackDown! beginning on November 16 in Canada. Currently, Smackdown! is available to many cable subscribers in Canada via many extended cable packages which are offered locally. However, this deal would provide the WWF with a national network to air Smackdown! across Canada.
The deal also includes the rights to broadcast WWF Metal for three years beginning mid-December of this year and certain XFL games for a period of two years beginning February 2001.
"We believe that there is significant untapped potential to introduce our programming in the Canadian market and our deal with The Score provides us with the perfect partner to realize this potential," said Linda McMahon, the WWF's Chief Executive Officer. "This is yet another of a series of recent agreements that will enable the company to expand its reach outside of the U.S. market and meet the worldwide demand of our ever-increasing fan base."
The agreement consists of a three-year contract with options for The Score to extend the contract for two additional years. The Score will pay WWFE an annual television rights fee and WWFE will retain the rights to sell 100 per cent of the commercial inventory on SmackDown! In return, WWFE will remit a percentage of the net proceeds to The Score. Additionally, WWFE will take an equity position in The Score's parent company, Headline Media Group Inc., subject to the approval of The Toronto Stock Exchange and the pending completion of the reverse takeover transaction whereby Old Canada Investment Corporation Limited acquires The Score.
"It has been our intention to introduce SmackDown! and WWF Metal to our Canadian fans for quite some time," said Carl DeMarco, President, WWFE Canada, Inc. "The opportunity to join forces with The Score and introduce additional WWF programming into the Canadian market will certainly broaden our appeal with all of our viewers. Our fans and the 4.6 million subscribers on The Score television network can now view a full complement of WWF programming. This will enable our avid and loyal fans to better keep up with our weekly storylines and view, what promises to be, an exciting new brand of football with the kick off of the XFL."
SmackDown! will air Thursday evenings from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. with a repeat currently scheduled from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. the same evening. SmackDown! currently airs on UPN in the United States and has been UPN's number one prime time program since its premiere in August 1999.
WWF Metal is currently scheduled to be broadcast Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and rebroadcast from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday evenings.
In addition to obtaining the broadcasting rights to SmackDown! and WWF Metal, The Score also signed a two-year agreement to broadcast one XFL game every Sunday during the regular season as well as two playoff games and the Championship game. The opening kick off for the XFL is scheduled for February 3, 2001.
"We are delighted to have WWFE and the XFL as programming partners", said John Levy, President and CEO of The Score. "The equity investment by WWFE is an endorsement of our programming vision and will enable us to draw upon WWFE's unparalleled brand building, marketing and promotional expertise as we build out The Score brand as Canada's source for sports news, information and targeted live event programming."
-- SLAM! Wrestling