Netflix airing WWE isn’t indicator of streamer changing its sports strategy, according to Sarandos



    One of the co-CEOs of Netflix said Tuesday that the partnership it signed with WWE to air “Raw” and other wrestling content means the streaming giant has not changed its approach to live sports.

    “I would not look at this as a signal of any other change or any change to our sports strategy,” Ted Sarandos, who along with Greg Peters helms Netflix, told analysts and investors.

    Under the agreement, WWE fans will see “Raw” broadcast on Netflix starting next year. The streaming giant will get “all WWE shows and specials” for international viewers, too, according to a press release.

    Netflix logo

    WWE fans to see “Raw” on Netflix starting next year. (Chesnot / Getty Images)

    He categorized WWE as “sports entertainment,” something he said “is right in the sweet spot of our sports business” focused on “the drama of sports.”


    The deal “has options and has the protections that we seek in our general licensing deals and with economics that we’re super happy with globally,” he also said.

    Old WWE HQ

    Signage outside the old World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut (Johnny Milano / Bloomberg / Getty Images)

    Reports have suggested the partnership has a $5 billion value. On the earnings call, Sarandos said Netflix “do[esn’t] comment on the economics of any of our deals.”

    Ticker Security Last Change Change %
    NFLX NETFLIX INC. 544.87 +52.68 +10.70%
    TKO TKO GROUP HOLDINGS 87.89 -1.78 -1.99%

    Netflix executives have said the company focuses on “the drama of sports” on several earnings calls.

    It often points to series such as “Formula 1: Drive to Survive,” “Full Swing” and “Tour de France: Unchained” as examples of sports-adjacent content where it has seen major success.


    Speculation about the direction of its live sports strategy and whether it could pursue sports rights previously arose in October ahead of the Netflix Cup Tournament that paired a few Formula 1 drivers up with pro golfers for a competition. Sarandos similarly said there was “no core change in our live sport strategy or licensing and live sports.”

    The partnership with WWE is expected to “add some fuel to [Netflix’s] new and growing ad business” and “feeds our desire to expand our live event programming,” according to the co-CEO.

    Netflix logo

    WWE fans to see “Raw” on Netflix starting next year. (Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto / Getty Images)

    Two pieces of live programming that Netflix has coming up are the SAG Awards and a face-off between tennis players Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz.


    The same day that Netflix and WWE unveiled their deal, WWE parent company TKO Group Holdings also announced it had added Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a board director.

    Johnson told “Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host Will Cain it was “a very big moment for me personally, big moment for my family, big moment for us, I think, for [WWE President] Nick [Khan] and I as partners with TKO too as well.”

    “It was a big announcement joining the board and some of the other things showcasing the power of what that could be, especially in the business that I love and that I know that Nick loves in this world of WWE and professional wrestling.”

    Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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