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Netflix’s WWE Deal Just Dropped an Elbow on Peacock

Netflix and the WWE are about to make one helluva tag team.

In 2025, WWE’s weekly flagship program “Monday Night Raw” is leaving its longtime USA Network home for the greener pastures of Netflix — yes, we are referring there to the color of money.

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Hey, the same move worked out for “Suits.”

“Monday Night Raw,” USA Network’s most-watched show, is heading to Netflix in a 10-year deal that will pay WWE parent company TKO more than $5 billion; top-rope stuff from today’s company filings. Netflix carries options to either extend the deal for another 10 years, or to opt out after the first five.

Curiously, in the Tuesday news announcement, TKO and Netflix both referred to the program simply as “Raw.” A person with knowledge of the plans told IndieWire that the show’s night of the week is subject to change in the move. It is possible Netflix would prefer to keep its “Raw” away from “Monday Night Football.”

What we do know is that, come January 2025, “Raw” will stream live exclusively on Netflix in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Latin America; other territories will be added later. And overseas, Netflix will get all of WWE’s shows, including its premium live events (PLEs, what we used to call pay-per-views) like “WrestleMania,” “SummerSlam,” and the “Royal Rumble,” as well as fellow weekly episodic shows “SmackDown” and “NXT.” WWE specials, like its documentaries, will also head to Netflix for those outside of the U.S.

It is possible — if not now likely — the PLEs will follow suit here. Peacock’s WWE Network rights, including those monthly PLEs, began in April 2021 and will expire in March 2026. WWE programming has been a significant part of Peacock’s growth and usage stories; if the PLEs head to Netflix, Peacock as we know it could go down for the count.

A spokesperson for Peacock did not respond to IndieWire’s request for comment on this story.

Tuesday’s announcement marks a significant shift for both “Raw” and Netflix. (TKO President and COO Mark Shapiro went with “transformative,” and we can’t argue with that.) “Monday Night Raw” has been on linear television since it first debuted 31 years ago in 1993; the Netflix move will snap 20 years straight on USA.

“Raw,” for Netflix, marks the streamer’s latest — and largest, to date — move into live sports. (Don’t try to tell us “The Netflix Cup” was any more of a “sport” than pro wrestling; an upcoming live tennis match is also an exhibition.)

Even more so than the push into live, “Raw” on Netflix is a tailwind for Netflix’s lagging advertising business. (Ironically, the two things Netflix once swore off — sports and commercials — are about to work in concert.)

While Netflix’s password-sharing crackdown has been a real boon to revenue, its ad-supported plans haven’t kept up. Earlier this month, Netflix revealed it had 23 million monthly active users (or MAUs, not subscribers) on its ad-supported tier. The equity analysts at bank Wells Fargo estimate that “Raw” alone will bring in more than $200 million to Netflix in annual advertising revenue. (There will likely be ads on “Raw” even on Netflix’s ad-free tiers, though not mid-match, CNBC’s Alex Sherman reported.)

Netflix “needs reach and frequency to carve out a seat at the top table with U.S. ad buyers,” lead analyst Steven Cahall wrote in a Tuesday note to clients (obtained by IndieWire). Cahall believes traditional live sports on Netflix is “still years away.” Ten billion dollars may not be chump change, but it isn’t NBA money, either.

Seth Rollins delivers a stomp to Jinder Mahal on WWE’s “Monday Night Raw”
Seth Rollins delivers a stomp to Jinder Mahal on WWE’s “Monday Night Raw”

“Raw” is just the latest in the shuffling suite of WWE weekly programming.

In October 2024, Friday show “SmackDown” will move from Fox back to USA as part of a five-year pact valued at more than $1.4 billion, a person with knowledge of that price tag told IndieWire. “SmackDown” will remain on Fridays — at least for the time being. That agreement, announced in September 2023, pretty much signaled the “Raw” run was done.

When “SmackDown” leaves broadcast for cable, WWE’s “NXT” program will make its broadcast debut on The CW under its own five-year deal. That deal was announced in November 2023; think of NXT as WWE’s minor leagues.

Netflix is set to report its fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 earnings this afternoon after the stock market closes. The streamer will be happier to talk about Tuesday’s big news than Monday’s: film chairman Scott Stuber is leaving the company.

Also on Tuesday, TKO added former WWE Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to its board of directors. As a perk, he gets the trademark for “The Rock” and his taglines back, a separate SEC filing states. Johnson is licensing all that stuff back to WWE for 10 years and $30 million in TKO stock, plus annual royalties.

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