WWE

After 30 years on television, WWE ‘Raw’ will move exclusively to Netflix

Author: Samantha Chery Source: The Washington Post
January 23, 2024 at 13:02
Carmella leaps at Bianca Belair during World Wrestling Entertainment’s “Raw,” on March 6 in Boston. (Charles Krupa/AP)
Carmella leaps at Bianca Belair during World Wrestling Entertainment’s “Raw,” on March 6 in Boston. (Charles Krupa/AP)

The wrestling company’s flagship show will leave traditional television for the first time in 31 years

“Raw,” World Wrestling Entertainment’s well-known weekly show that helped make John Cena and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin famous, will stream exclusively on Netflix next year, WWE announced on Tuesday. The partnership marks the first time the wrestling show won’t be aired on traditional television since it debuted in 1993.

Netflix will have exclusive streaming rights for “Raw” in the United States, Canada, Britain and Latin America starting next January and expand to additional areas over time, according to WWE and Netflix’s news release.

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WWE President Nick Khan said in a statement that Netflix is “the ideal long-term home” for the fan base of WWE’s most popular program. “Netflix has engineered a phenomenal track record for storytelling,” he added.

Netflix Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria said in a statement that she is “thrilled” by the long-term partnership, which will cost more than $5 billion, according to a company filing.

“‘Raw’ is the best of sports entertainment, blending great characters and storytelling with live action 52 weeks a year,” she said.

“Raw’s” migration to Netflix is the latest example of the streaming universe’s growing appetite for sports content. The NFL put a playoff game exclusively on Peacock for the first time ever this month. Netflix, meanwhile, is showing an appetite for live content that could portend further interest in procuring rights to sports programs, like Apple and Amazon have. The streaming giant acquired the rights to show “Inside the NFL” and has an NBA docuseries in the works.

As part of the deal, all of WWE’s other shows and specials — including “WWE SmackDown” and “WWE NXT” — as well as live events such as “WrestleMania,” “SummerSlam” and “Royal Rumble,” will also be available on Netflix outside the United States.

“Raw” is the USA Network’s top program, with more than 17.5 million unique viewers. It bolstered the career of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who was given the legal ownership to his famous moniker and joined the board of directors for TKO, the company that owns WWE.

Ben Strauss contributed to this report.

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