WWE Rights Going To A Streaming Service?

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By James Brizuela
| Published

The WWE is going through some huge changes. Since the misconduct allegations began to surface about former CEO Vince McMahon, he has since retired from the company as CEO. That title will now be shared by his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, and Nick Khan. Stephanie will also assume the position of head of the board of directors, and Khan will remain on the board as well. Now, it appears as if the long-standing professional wrestling company might be flirting with the idea of bringing Raw and SmackDown to a streaming service. One of the biggest players bidding for those rights is Netflix. You can see this announcement below:

Based on the reports from the recent earnings call for the WWE, there are several bidders wanting to get their hands on the potential to be the new home of Raw and SmackDown. Both programs bring in a ton of viewers, so it makes sense that streaming services are wanting to buy the rights to either of those programs. We are not entirely sure how Netflix would handle a “lie” situation, as NBCUniversal and Fox both air those programs live on television. Netflix has not traditionally done that, but it would be interesting to see if securing rights to WWE properties would warrant more live TV coming to the streaming service.

A bold move might be needed right now for the WWE, as the wrestling conglomerate is currently bridled with drama via the allegations against Vince McMahon. Vince is accused of spending upwards of $19 million in secret payments to women that he engaged with. These engagements are allegedly sexual in nature. This money was to bribe them into not speaking about their dealings with the man. He is currently being investigated for this wrongdoing and could face a ton of punishment if they are found to be true. For one, the man would likely have to give up his majority ownership of the company, and he could also be facing some jail time for stealing funds directly from the company.

Although all this drama is currently what most people talk about when the WWE comes up, it is still a massively popular form of entertainment. The Super Bowl is arguably the most popular event in American sports, but that is sometimes overshadowed by the massive number of people that watch WrestleMania. Because of how popular professional wrestling is, that is a huge reason why Netflix and other streams are trying to land the rights to Raw and/or SmackDown. It would likely cost a ton of money to secure those rights, but that would end up being highly profitable to whoever secured the rights to those programs.

Fans of WWE and professional wrestling might not be able to watch their favorite events, because of not owning a cable service. However, should WWE sell some of its properties to a streaming service, it could be profitable for both sides. WWE would get far more exposure from streaming service subscriptions, and the streaming service would see a huge uptick in numbers of subs. Netflix is currently going through issues with subscribers and landing a contract with the WWE would be huge.