Gripped: Netflix is slamming $5bn down for rights to WWE

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Raw power

Netflix is teaming up with WWE as it furthers its foray into live streaming, signing a punchy $5 billion deal to become the exclusive home of the weekly flagship Raw show from January 2025. The 10-year agreement is the biggest live sports entertainment deal in Netflix history and brings WWE properties like SmackDown and Wrestlemania under the platform’s umbrella for streaming outside the US.

Shares in TKO Group — the entertainment giant formed after the merger of WWE and UFC last September — jumped almost 20% on the news yesterday morning. Netflix’s stock is also soaring, up 12% at the time of writing, although that’s likely more to do with the company reporting 13 million new subscribers, way ahead of the expected 8-9 million additional watchers.

WWE works

For TKO-owned WWE, the deal is a milestone in the monetization of its flagship show, with media deals adding over $1 billion in sales last year — some 80% of the business’s record $1.3 billion revenue, largely thanks to its current streaming deal with Peacock and record viewership across many of its pay-per-view premium live events.

For Netflix it's one — very expensive — step toward achieving its ambition of becoming the “must-have home-entertainment” subscription service: adding one of the longest-running weekly episodic shows in history to its portfolio.

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