In a move that’s set to redefine the boundaries of sports entertainment in the UK, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) empire is charting new territory.
With the ink now dry on a landmark agreement with Netflix, WWE is bidding farewell to traditional linear television in the UK, heralding a new chapter in its legacy.
As of January 2025, Raw, WWE’s flagship program, will find its new arena on Netflix’s digital platform, extending its reach across the UK, US, Canada, and Latin America, with more live content coming to the streaming giant (see full details below).
This shift from the traditional broadcasting model (it’s currently on TNT Sports in the UK) to on-demand streaming-only is more than a mere change of channel – it’s a cultural shift, reflecting the evolving landscape of how we consume sports entertainment.
For Netflix, a platform synonymous with binge-watching, films and documentaries, the foray into the live, adrenaline-fueled world of WWE is a bold leap into previously uncharted waters.
WWE Coming To Netflix
Starting January 2025, Netflix will become the exclusive new home for Raw in the UK, US, Canada and Latin America, along with other territories.
This strategic alignment will also encompass all WWE shows and specials outside the US, including SmackDown, NXT, and major events like WrestleMania and SummerSlam.
For over three decades, WWE has been a powerhouse in sports entertainment.
With 1600 episodes to date, Raw redefined the genre, blending scripted drama with live-action sports.
The show has been pivotal in launching the careers of numerous superstars, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Roman Reigns, Bianca Belair, and John Cena.
Mark Shapiro, President and COO of TKO Group Holdings, WWE’s parent company, described the Netflix deal as “transformative. ”
“It marries the can’t-miss WWE product with Netflix’s extraordinary global reach and locks in significant and predictable economics for many years.
“Our partnership fundamentally alters and strengthens the media landscape, dramatically expands the reach of WWE, and brings weekly live appointment viewing to Netflix.”
Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Bela Bajaria, expressed excitement about bringing WWE’s diverse and passionate fan base to its platform.
“Raw is the best of sports entertainment, blending great characters and storytelling with live-action 52 weeks a year, and we’re thrilled to be in this long-term partnership with WWE.”
WWE’s Netflix Move And Its UK Ripple Effects
The groundbreaking deal between WWE and Netflix is poised to drastically alter the landscape of WWE broadcasting in the UK, reshaping how British audiences consume one of the world’s most popular sports spectacles.
The End of WWE Network in the UK
The WWE Network, launched in 2014, represented a pioneering effort in sports entertainment streaming.
Priced at $9.99 per month internationally, including in the UK, it offered an all-access pass to WWE’s extensive library of live events, original series, and archival content.
However, with WWE’s content migrating to Netflix, the Network’s relevance in the UK market is effectively coming to an end – in 2025.
For UK fans, this change means adapting to a new platform to access their favourite WWE content – but, it also means existing Netflix subscribers won’t have to pay extra for yet another subscription service.
Implications for TNT Sports
TNT Sports (formerly known as BT Sport), which has been home to WWE programming, including Raw and SmackDown, faces a significant blow with this deal.
This new partnership, which sees WWE moving away from traditional linear television for the first time since its inception in 1993, heralds a new era for both the sports entertainment behemoth and Netflix.
WWE’s decision to shift its content exclusively to Netflix means TNT Sports will lose some of its most popular programming.
The loss of WWE programming represents a possible shift in the sports broadcasting landscape in the UK – with Netflix potentially looking at other live sports franchises in the future.
But are Netflix subscribers a good match for live sports content – with the company being out of this game for so many years? Only time will tell.