Netflix grabs exclusive permission for WWE Raw: Stream provider to shell out $5 billion in decade-long contract.

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Netflix Enters Live Event Realm with World Wrestling Entertainment Acquisition

According to inside sources, Netflix Inc., known for its vast array of on-demand content, is making a considerable leap into live events, acquiring exclusive programming rights to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). This trailblazing move, based on a 10-year agreement worth $5 billion, makes this the first significant venture of Netflix into the live entertainment sphere. However, an official statement regarding the monetary elements of the deal is yet to be released by the streaming czar.

Deal Details and Impacts

The agreement stipulates that from January 2025, Raw, along with other WWE shows and specials, will exclusively be available to Netflix audiences in the United States, Latin America, Canada, and other global markets. This transformative shift comes after the expiration of the WWE’s domestic contract with Comcast Corp. WWE events such as Smackdown, NXT, SummerSlam, Wrestlemania, and Royal Rumble, will make Netflix the sole international home outside of the US for these events. The deal’s icing on the cake – no additional costs will be imposed on Netflix customers for pay-per-view events.

As news of the deal emerged, WWE’s parent conglomerate, TKO Group Holdings Inc., witnessed a 21% rise in its shares in New York’s premarket trading. Another exciting development within the conglomerate is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s addition to its board as per a Tuesday’s securities filing. This grants the 51-year-old wrestling icon-turned-actor intellectual property rights to “The Rock” trademark and an entitlement of approximately $30 million in TKO stock for promotional services provided to WWE.

Netflix’s Expansion into Live Entertainment

The latest deal adds a feather to Netflix’s cap, projecting it towards reaping the benefits of WWE’s loyal viewership base and using it as a catalyst to drive its nascent advertising-supported concept. A weekly dosage of three hours of live wrestling from next year signals Netflix’s strategic foray into live events after experimenting with live comedy shows and a golf match in the previous year. This marks the company’s first enduring rights deal.

The shift from cable TV to streaming for major live events has been gaining momentum. As avid viewers replace satellite and cable networks with their streaming counterparts, big-ticket events are more frequently being featured on platforms such as ESPN and Inc. This paradigm shift is apparent from the example of National Football League’s Thursday Night Football moving to Amazon and Comcast’s Peacock featuring a playoff game. The latter event set a new milestone in terms of the streaming audience for any professional sporting event in the US.

Performances and Expectations

Scrutinizing this upheaval in the entertainment landscape, it’s clear that Netflix Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria believes that their collaboration with WWE will maximize both joy and value for their audiences and members alike. The licensing of WWE’s documentaries and original series by Netflix marks another influential element of their comprehensive agreement.

Despite Comcast’s substantial contribution of about $265 million annually for airing Raw and the acquisition rights to Smackdown, WWE has been facing investor anxiety. The apprehension revolves around the company’s struggle to secure a remunerative platform for Raw in the future. However, Netflix’s recent interest in live entertainment has renewed hope among investors.

TKO has assured long-term deals for all of its prime properties and is set to negotiate its following deal for the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2025. There is wide anticipation amongst investors regarding Netflix’s fourth-quarter earnings, following their substantial share increase of about 40% since October, driven mainly by an unexpected surge in new subscribers.


Franklin, a seasoned wordsmith on ReaderWall, passionately explores the dynamic world of sports through insightful narratives. With an eloquent blend of expertise and enthusiasm, Franklin captures the essence of athletic triumphs, challenges, and the human spirit in the realm of sports. Dive into his captivating articles that celebrate the adrenaline-pumping moments and the profound impact of sports on our lives.