It is now 2012, which means the official countdown to the launch of WWE Network can officially begin. The network promises to be a unique experience for fans, with the intent to be a hybrid of an all-WWE station and an incredible interaction with fans on a level that no other organization's channel has.
We can continue to speculate on exactly how WWE Network will turn out, which is exactly what likely will happen until the anticipated launch date of April 1.
WWE surely has seen what works and what doesn't for the networks of the four major North American sports (NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV and NHL Network). While the idea for WWE's own network has been discussed for years, WWE may be pushing forward with their network to force the hands of WWE's true competition all year long: UFC and NASCAR.
Both have also been lacking in having their own networks, and their channels seem to only be a matter of time from being a reality as well. WWE seems to be pushing toward their channel's launch to force the hands of these other organizations.
WWE Network has a large vault of classic matches from multiple wrestling promotions, something that their competition just doesn't have. UFC is too young to have a vault as extensive as WWE's and many of NASCAR's historical moments are tied up with other companies, such as ESPN.
WWE also has the resources to have reality-based shows to mix up the programming on their channel. There isn't a whole lot that NASCAR can do to put their drivers into shows and market them as brands, something auto racing has struggled with for years.
As for UFC, they have one incredibly successful show with their company: The Ultimate Fighter. The problem is that is also a wildly successful show for Spike TV and will take a lot of effort to pry away.
Most importantly, WWE has the worldwide fanbase and lack of an offseason to reach the masses and keep them entertained for the entire calendar year. There is always something going on in WWE. Every other major sport seems to have a slow period in the year.
The only exception to that is UFC, but their fighters do not fight weekly like they do in WWE. It's hard for UFC to try and sell a fighter that will only fight a few times each year, but WWE can churn out constant exposure for their stars.
Despite the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB all debuting their own channels already, WWE Network knows what they want to be. WWE Network will not be a pro wrestling version of those other sports channels, but rather a channel that will market their brand correctly to the fans that watch them so much.
WWE Network could one day evolve into putting pay-per-views or even TV programming onto their network. That is something that the other networks, with their contracts with stations, struggle to accomplish.
The new benchmark on the channel listings will be WWE Network. While the beginning weeks may be rough as the network works out its own kinks, for a company that already has worldwide exposure, they will only grow in their following.
WWE may not have any direct competition with a lack of a legitimate rival wrestling companies, but the new network still puts other organizations, especially ones who also promote pay-per-views, on notice.
We still await to see how successful WWE Network will be. However, their ability to push forward with this channel so quickly speaks volumes to the resources at their disposal. Whether it is a success or a failure, WWE Network will certainly change the game of a company's own television network.