Netflix’s $5 Billion Deal With WWE Shows The Future Of Sports Media Is Off-Cable

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Robert McGreevy Contributor
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Netflix and the WWE agreed to a massive 10-year deal to exclusively stream WWE Raw for over $5 billion, the WWE announced Tuesday morning.

Netflix will begin streaming WWE Raw in 2025, according to a WWE Corporate press release. The incredible deal marks the streaming service’s first big foray into the sports content market after competitors like Amazon, Apple, Disney and NBC Universal have spent big money on exclusive rights to sporting events in recent years.

In the streaming era, live sports have become the last bastion of valuable advertising revenue as one of the few remaining content options viewers rarely stream after the fact.

But the move to streaming won’t be all sunshine and roses. There are legitimate concerns over access, like the ones that sprung up from NBC’s recent Peacock-exclusive NFL playoff game.

While change is inevitable, sports are the one place Americans can go to to escape the horrors of an increasingly dystopian modern world. So while change is a part of life, sports are the one thing we don’t want to see change drastically.

In this case, fans and pundits alike are concerned the move to Netflix, scheduled for January 2025, would remove Raw from its iconic Monday night timeslot. Appearing on the Pat McAfee Show to announce the deal, WWE President Nick Khan assured former NFL cornerback Darius Butler there were no plans to move the hit program from its slot.

“At this moment in time it remains Monday night Raw, but keep in mind we got 10 and a half months until this deal is up and running,” Khan professed.

The move off of linear cable means Raw will lose the right to call itself “the longest-running weekly episodic program” in TV, marking a huge blow to cable companies everywhere.

Cable’s die off won’t be immediate. CBS just announced a record audience for Sunday’s Chiefs vs. Bills playoff game of over 50 million viewers.


But still, as streaming giants and media companies continue to open their massive wallets to add sports to their collections, linear media will continue to become less appealing to potential advertisers who will likely find more value in online advertising. (RELATED: Disney Losing More Than $1.5 Billion Every Year After Spectrum Shuns ESPN: REPORT)

Like it or not, streaming is the future. But in a fragmented media world, cord cutters may find themselves coming full circle. A football and wrestling fan who is a fan of certain baseball, hockey and basketball teams may find himself needing to pay for Netflix ($6.99), Peacock ($5.99), Amazon Prime ($14.99) and Apple TV+ ($9.99) to assure he doesn’t miss a game.

With all plans simply at the basic level that’s already over $35 a month. While that’s cheaper than many cable subscriptions for now, streaming services are notorious for jacking up their prices once they’ve eliminated competition.