Netflix is stepping into the WWE ring, locking down a landmark deal to stream the renowned “Raw” series starting next year, signaling a bold leap into the live sports arena.
In what’s being touted as a seismic shift in the streaming landscape, Netflix, together with TKO Group Holdings, has clinched a 10-year agreement, reportedly worth north of $5 billion, to bring WWE’s marquee program “Raw” to its global platform. This move not only marks Netflix’s inaugural venture into the world of live sports broadcasting but also signals a strategic pivot as it seeks to diversify its content offerings.
Historically cautious in its approach to live programming, Netflix’s latest maneuver to secure “Raw,” a fixture on USA Network, underscores its ambition to redefine the streaming experience. For Netflix, grappling with the challenges of shared subscription crackdowns and the push towards ad-supported tiers, this foray could be a game-changer.
Meanwhile, for TKO, the corporate muscle behind WWE, this partnership is a power play, catapulting WWE wrestling into the laps of over 250 million Netflix subscribers across the globe. “Raw” has been a ratings juggernaut for NBCUniversal’s USA Network, pulling in a staggering 17.5 million unique viewers per year.
Adding to this high-stakes narrative, TKO dropped another bombshell this Tuesday: Dwayne Johnson, the actor and erstwhile wrestling icon, is set to join its board. The ripple effect? A more than 10% spike in TKO’s stock in pre-market trading, a testament to the deal’s perceived value.