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Netflix to stream WWE’s flagship “Raw” in 2025

Netflix and the parent company of World Wrestling Entertainment have struck a deal that will see the WWE’s flagship program “Raw” stream live on the service for the first time ever.

The deal is valued at over $5 billion and includes live domestic and international telecast rights to Raw over the course of 10 years. The agreement is set to take effect in 2025, when WWE’s broadcast contract with NBC Universal expires.

“In its relatively short history, Netflix has engineered a phenomenal track record for storytelling,” WWE President Nick Khan said on Tuesday. “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.”

The rights deal includes international distribution of several other WWE programs, including “Smackdown!,” “NXT” and the pay-per-view events “Royal Rumble,” “SummerSlam” and “WrestleMania.” In the United States, those events will continue to be offered by Comcast-owned streaming service Peacock, which has the domestic streaming rights to the WWE library except Raw.

The agreement will also allow Netflix to develop original series around the WWE’s superstar athletes, the companies said.

“When you look back at the chapters of sports media history, new chapters are driven by extraordinary new paradigms,” Mark Shapiro, the chief operating officer of TKO, the parent company of WWE, told CNBC in an interview. “ESPN and Turner bringing NFL to cable in 1987, Rupert Murdoch bringing football to Fox in 1994 — when new histories are written, Raw on Netflix will be such a chapter starter.”

The deal with WWE and TKO is yet another push by Netflix to break out into live sports. The company live-streamed a golf tournament involving some Formula 1 drivers last year, and is expected to stream a tennis tournament later this spring.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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