Netflix has agreed to a $5 billion deal to broadcast WWE’s RAW program in the United States over the next decade. The deal will come into effect from January 2025. Traditionally regarded as World Wrestling Entertainment’s flagship show, RAW will not be available on linear television for the first time in its 31-year history. This deal represents by far Netflix’s largest investment in live sports. It will greatly increase Netflix’s utilization of the equipment needed to stream live sports events.
WWE’s RAW will now stream on Netflix
The streamer is committing a staggering $5 billion to the deal, which is worth $500 million annually for ten years. After the first five years, Netflix can choose to terminate the agreement. It can also decide to keep it in place for an extra ten years. According to sources, WWE and NBCUniversal have a current five-year deal worth between $250 million and $260 million annually for the US rights to “RAW.”
Increasing financial strains
WWE’s decision to remove RAW from the USA network, where it is the most popular show, is also a reflection of the financial strain that traditional cable television operators are facing as more viewers switch to streaming. Through the deal, WWE’s reach is significantly increased, and Netflix will now be able to stream weekly live appointments. Under the terms of the agreement, Netflix will host all WWE programs outside of the United States. Every WWE program, including SmackDown, pay-per-view events like WrestleMania and Royal Rumble, documentaries, original series, and other projects. Over time, more nations and areas will be added.
Netflix’s foray into sports live stream
To broadcast a wide variety of content, including stand-up comedy, sports, and live news and award shows, Netflix has been enhancing its live streaming capabilities. Netflix, which has stated time and time again that it is not particularly interested in large-scale sports rights, is investing a significant amount of money in livestreaming under this agreement. After experimenting with live-streaming comedic shows at first, Netflix has now added award shows, reality shows, and live sporting events to its lineup.
Here’s what they said
Mark Shapiro, the chief executive of TKO, formed following the merger of WWE and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) said,
This deal is transformative. It marries the can’t-miss WWE product with Netflix’s extraordinary global reach and locks in significant and predictable economics for many years. Our partnership fundamentally alters and strengthens the media landscape, dramatically expands the reach of WWE, and brings weekly live appointment viewing to Netflix.
Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s chief content officer, added,
We are excited to have WWE Raw, with its huge and passionate multigenerational fanbase, on Netflix. By combining our reach, recommendations, and fandom with WWE, we’ll be able to deliver more joy and value for their audiences and our members. Raw is the best of sports entertainment, blending great characters and storytelling with live action 52 weeks a year and we’re thrilled to be in this long-term partnership with WWE.