Commencing in January 2025, WWE Raw is slated to find its exclusive streaming home on Netflix in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Latin America, and various other territories. This development comes as a result of WWE’s announcement of a “long-term partnership” with Netflix, solidifying the streaming giant as the primary platform for all WWE programming outside the United States. The extensive content covered by this deal includes not only Monday Night Raw but also SmackDown, NXT, pay-per-views, documentaries, original series, and upcoming projects.
WWE’s Monday Night Raw to Make Historic Move to Netflix in $5 Billion Decade-Long Deal
“We are excited to have WWE Raw, with its huge and passionate multigenerational fan base, on Netflix,” said Netflix chief content officer Bela Bajaria. “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.”
Reportedly, the agreement between the two entities spans a decade and is estimated to be worth approximately $5 billion, according to sources like The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. TKO president and COO Mark Shapiro emphasized the transformative nature of the deal, highlighting the fusion of WWE’s must-watch content with Netflix’s unparalleled global reach. This partnership is expected to provide significant and predictable economic benefits for many years, reshaping the media landscape and expanding the reach of WWE on a global scale.
“This deal is transformative,” added Mark Shapiro, president and COO of WWE parent company TKO. “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.”
Monday Night Raw, a weekly staple since its premiere on January 11, 1993, will be making a historic departure from linear television for the first time in its 31-year history. USA Network, where the program originally debuted and currently airs weekly, has been the show’s home since 2005. The move to Netflix signifies a groundbreaking shift in the distribution of WWE content, marking a departure from traditional television and embracing the streaming era. The deal with Netflix also marks a departure from the U.S.-based WWE Network, as Netflix becomes the international hub for WWE’s premium live events, documentaries, and original series.
“In its relatively short history, Netflix has engineered a phenomenal track record for storytelling,” said Nick Khan, WWE president. “We believe Netflix, as one of the world’s leading entertainment brands, is the ideal long-term home for Raw’s live, loyal, and ever-growing fan base.”
Netflix Completes WWE TV Rights Portfolio with ‘Raw’ Deal, Cementing Its Entry into Live Programming
Closing this chapter of WWE’s recent TV rights negotiations, the latest deal involving “Raw” is the concluding piece. Earlier, it was revealed that the rights to “SmackDown” were secured by NBCUniversal and USA Network in a five-year, $1.4 billion agreement. Subsequently, there was an announcement about NXT’s move from USA Network to The CW, estimated to be valued at approximately $20 million-$25 million annually for a five-year term.
The inclusion of “Raw” in Netflix’s content portfolio signifies the streaming giant’s strategic foray into live programming. Netflix had dipped its toes into livestreaming earlier, with the debut of its first-ever live event in March 2023 featuring the comedy special “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage.” This was followed by a live “Love Is Blind” reunion special in April, and since then, Netflix has continued to broadcast various live events, including the recent 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Bringing “Raw” into its weekly programming lineup signifies a pivotal move for Netflix, positioning itself as a trailblazer in the streaming revolution. In an industry where regular live sports content is becoming a standard offering, Netflix’s entry into this space is seen as imperative. Notable competitors, such as Amazon securing exclusive rights to the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” for a decade starting in the 2023 season and Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, attracting 23 million viewers during the airing of the NFL playoff game, highlight the growing importance of live sports in streaming services.
Mark Shapiro, President and COO of WWE parent company TKO, revealed that the deal with Netflix was months in the making. He credited Netflix Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria with foresight, recognizing the value WWE could bring to Netflix’s global platform. The long-term licensing agreement, shrouded in secrecy during its complex negotiation, emerges as a true win-win for both sides. The universality and attractiveness of the platform align seamlessly with the universally appealing property of WWE, boasting significant and loyal followings. Shapiro emphasized the strategic reasons behind the deal, indicating that the price and various components of the agreement are favorable for both parties involved.