Netflix has inked a groundbreaking 10-year deal worth $5 billion with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to exclusively stream the former wrestling live show, documentaries, and original series. The deal, set to commence in January 2025, marks a significant departure from traditional linear television networks as Netflix becomes the global home for all WWE shows and specials outside the U.S.
Under the agreement, Netflix will exclusively air WWE’s flagship weekly live pro wrestling show, ‘Raw,’ along with popular programs like SmackDown and NXT. The streaming giant will also feature marquee live events such as WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Royal Rumble. Additionally, Netflix will provide on-demand access to WWE documentaries, original series, and upcoming projects globally, excluding the U.S., where Peacock retains domestic rights.
Bela Bajaria, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “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.” Netflix has also secured licensing rights for WWE’s documentaries and original series as part of the deal.
Mark Shapiro, President of Technical Knockout (TKO), remarked on the transformative impact of the partnership, stating, “Our partnership fundamentally alters and strengthens the media landscape, dramatically expands the reach of WWE, and brings weekly live appointment viewing to Netflix.”
The unexpected interest shown by Netflix in live entertainment has turned the tide for TKO, securing long-term deals for WWE’s key properties, including Raw and SmackDown. The deal also signals Netflix’s foray into live sports streaming, showcasing its commitment beyond on-demand content.
Netflix, with over 200 million subscribers, has previously experimented with live events, including golf matches and comedy specials. The WWE deal marks Netflix’s commitment to providing three hours of live wrestling weekly, attracting millions of loyal viewers and bolstering its advertising-supported plan.
Raw, WWE’s most-watched program with 1.5 million viewers per show, holds historical significance since its debut in 1993 and has been a launchpad for wrestling stars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena. The alliance between WWE and Netflix signifies a pivotal moment, blending the rich legacy of wrestling with the dynamic landscape of streaming services.