The TKO Group will pay ‘The Rock’ $30 million in stock as part of the merchandising and promotional agreement. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)
WWE’s flagship show will have a new home beginning in January 2025.
The sports and entertainment company announced Tuesday it has completed a deal with Netflix that will see WWE’s “Raw” air exclusively on the streaming platform. The agreement is reportedly worth $5 billion over 10 years, with Netflix having the option to opt out after the first five years or extend for an additional decade.
WWE’s current five-year television deal with NBCUniversal is reportedly worth $250 million-$260 million per year. “Raw” will remain on USA Network until October 2024, and it is still to be determined where it will move to before going to Netflix in 2025.
Netflix will also stream all WWE shows and specials, including its premium live events such as Wrestlemania, SummerSlam and Royal Rumble.
“This is a super game changer,” said TKO President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Shapiro via CNBC. “When you look back at the chapters of sports media history, new chapters are driven by extraordinary new paradigms. 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.”
WWE’s “Raw” has aired on linear television since January 1993, when it debuted on USA Network until 2000 before moving to TNN/Spike TV through 2005.
The weekly show returned in 2005 to USA Network, where it now draws 17.5 million unique viewers over the course of the year, according to Netflix.
WWE’s “SmackDown,” which airs on Fox on Friday nights, will move to USA Network in October as part of a five-year, $1.4 billion deal with NBCUniversal.
The Rock joins board of directors
Along with the Netflix news, it was announced that Dwayne Johnson, better known as “The Rock,” was appointed to the board of directors of TKO Group, the company that runs both WWE and UFC.
Johnson, who has gone from WWE star to major Hollywood actor, will also get full ownership of his wrestling name, “The Rock.” A regulatory filing Tuesday showed that the TKO Group will pay him $30 million in stock as part of the merchandising and promotional agreement.
“I’m very motivated to help continue to globally expand our TKO, WWE and UFC businesses as the worldwide leaders in sports and entertainment — while proudly representing so many phenomenal athletes and performers who show up every day putting in the hard work with their own two hands to make their dreams come true and deliver for our audiences. I’ve been there, I’m still there and this is for them.”