In a groundbreaking move, WWE announced earlier this week its partnership with Netflix, marking a significant shift in the broadcasting landscape of sports entertainment. Beginning January 2025, "WWE Raw" will air on the streaming giant, as part of a monumental $5 billion agreement spanning ten years.
This shift not only brings "Raw" to Netflix but also includes "WWE SmackDown" and "WWE NXT," along with major live events like WrestleMania. The deal represents a strategic pivot for WWE, expanding its reach through Netflix's vast global platform.
WWE-Netflix Landmark Deal
Despite the staggering value of the deal, which notably surpasses "Raw's" previous $265 million per year contract with USA Network, prominent wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer considers the price tag modest.
In his latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Meltzer points out that the deal effectively consolidates localized international broadcasting rights, previously held in regions like Canada and the UK, under Netflix's umbrella.
Meltzer also notes that Netflix secured the WWE rights at a lower than anticipated rate. Nevertheless, WWE sees this partnership as a game-changer, primarily due to the unprecedented exposure of producing live weekly shows on a streaming service.
The initial response from the stock market to this announcement was positive, yet Meltzer suggests that reactions might have varied had WWE secured a similar deal with another network or online platform. The wrestling community has been vocal about this landmark agreement.
Former WCW executive Eric Bischoff sees this as a colossal opportunity for WWE to bolster its international presence, given Netflix's extensive global subscriber base. Meanwhile, WWE Hall of Famer Bully Ray believes that while the transition from USA Network to Netflix will require adjustments, WWE's strategic planning behind the deal is evident.
This partnership between WWE and Netflix marks a pioneering moment in sports entertainment, blending traditional broadcasting with the new age of streaming, potentially setting a precedent for future media deals in the industry.