Cape Town - e.tv has announced that WWE will no longer be airing on the e family of channels from 1 September 2017.
In a media statement the channel announced that it will not be renewing its long-standing contract with WWE.
Marlon Davids, Managing Director of e.tv Channels says that the decision not to renew the WWE contract was not taken lightly. “e.tv has been the home of WWE in South Africa since 2001, but international rights contracts like this are complex,” he says.
“After reviewing our renewal options, we decided to focus instead on the direction our entertainment lineup has been taking over the last 12 months.”
“We’re thrilled with the way our viewership numbers have grown, thanks to the local and international drama, comedy and reality shows which have found a home on the e family of channels."
“As sad as we are to see WWE leave its home in South Africa, we’re confident that our audience will keep embracing the channels’ new direction and continue to be entertained by the fresh and engaging content which e.tv and the e family of channels currently hosts – and has plans to expand in the future," says Davids.
WWE programs will be replaced by back to back family movies on Saturdays and Sundays from September onwards. Weekdays will be replaced by House, an American television medical drama.
Wrestling live in SuperSport with same-day re-airs
With e.tv opting not to exercise its right to continue, SuperSport got the opportunity to take it over with the pay-TV sports unit signing a multi-year agreement to move WWE programming from e.tv to MultiChoice's DStv in 50 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
From Monday 28 August SuperSport will now show Raw and SmackDown, as well as the WWE specials, WrestleMania and SummerSlam.
Raw will be broadcast on the SuperSport 3, SuperSport 4, SuperSport 9 and SuperSport 10 channels on Tuesdays, with SmackDown on Wednesdays on the same channels. Both will be shown live with same-day re-airs.
All wrestling specials like WrestleMania, SummerSlam, the Survivor Series and Royal Rumble will also be shown on these channels, also live, with same-day re-airs, available with English commentary and on demand.
"WWE is a global phenomenon, so securing the broadcast rights for SuperSport is a terrific coup," says Gideon Khobane, SuperSport CEO.
"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," says Ed Wells, WWE executive vice president, international.