Netflix Bodyslams into Live Sports with WWE DealJan 25, 2024
Netflix is finally making some real live 'sports' moves.
In a seismic shift for the streaming wars, Netflix has agreed to pay $5 billion for streaming rights to the WWE Raw program.
WWE Raw is the flagship broadcast of World Wrestling Entertainment, one of the biggest live sports properties in the world. Netflix and TKO group have agreed on a ten-year deal that will bring Raw to Netflix.
While services like Apple TV+ and Peacock have experimented with live sports, Netflix has been pretty silent on trying to own their own segment of the live sports world. This Raw deal is great for both parties, as WWE Raw has a huge, loyal fanbase while Netflix brings a much broader potential audience to the deal.
OLD MEDIA THROWS IN THE TOWEL
The biggest loser here is NBC Universal since Raw was the only thing really keeping their USA network alive. Raw brought in 17.5 million viewers a year for USA, and that audience is going to be tough to replace.
WHY IT MATTERS
Live sports is the last bastion of engagement for most content providers. The top 20 most-watched programs any given year are almost 100% NFL games. WWE has been a unique property in live sports with a lot of growth potential, especially since the WWE has joined forces with the UFC in the last year. Now, Netflix has a huge stake in this media property and incentives to build even more buzz around Raw in the same way they did for Formula 1. This is generating a lot of positive pressure for Netflix ahead of their earnings call this evening. Shares of the WWE parent company TKO surged over 20% in early trading, while Netflix shares were more flat as investors waited for tonight’s earnings presentation.