Dave Meltzer Suggests Netflix Played WWE With Huge Deal

Triple H Ari Emanuel WWE TKO

Dave Meltzer has commented on WWE’s massive deal with Netflix and explains why the price for the deal is not as high as WWE might have hoped.

WWE Raw is heading to Netflix in January 2025 as part of a massive $5 billion deal that sees all content for the company head to the streaming giant in many countries around the world.

The price tag represents $500 million per year for WWE as part of the ten-year deal but given that it is not just for Raw but will wipe out several broadcast deals worldwide, it might not be as big a return as those at the top of the company and in TKO were hoping for.

Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer delved into the numbers of the Netflix deal and suggested that with all the content that is going with it, it’s not nearly as good a deal for WWE as it may first appear:

One of the things on the Netflix deal, after really crunching the numbers, from an exposure deal, there’s there’s a lot of ways to look at from exposure deal. It’s a good deal from a financial deal. It’s actually in a lot of ways really surprising. I think the one thing was it’s not nearly the increase that people think it is.

Because, yeah, people will look at like 265 (million dollars per year) to 500 and go, that’s a great increase. But it’s not. It’s Raw, but it’s also all of these international television deals, basically, all over the world, I mean, the only markets that they will be continuing to have a broadcast television deal on at this point outside of the United States – because the United States will have the CW deal for NXT, they will have the USA Network deal through two through 2029 For Smackdown. But aside from that, the only international TV deals that will remain will be India, Australia, Japan, which is a streaming deal, and the Middle East TV deal.

So basically all the rest of the TV deals all over the world are also part of this. And if you factor all that in, I mean, I have it at 29% [increase], Brandon Thurston had it at 31% or 32%, in that range. Other people have had it as low as 20%. So it’s somewhere probably between 20 and 32% increase, which sounds like okay, it’s more money. And if you throw everything in, all the TV deals that they have with this new deal they’re going to be making a billion dollars a year, in guaranteed money between all their streaming and television deals guaranteed for the next five years, and probably more. That’s great.

But they had been getting big increases, and they predicted 50%, and big increases all over the world every time that they renegotiated. So the deal here is, a lot of people think that Netflix really played them because Netflix got the value. And as a ten deal with this, if sports rights or TV rights were to continue to escalate, with this 10-year deal, essentially, WWE is not going to escalate. I mean, they’ll have their little escalators each year. But essentially, it’s roughly 500 million a year, which is a great number.

But if with all these other rights every five years going up 50%, sometimes double, and things like that Formula One went up 17 times of what their previous deal was. They are a really rare exception. But with a lot of these sports deals have gone way, way up. WWE had promised a 50% increase, and people assumed it would be a five-year thing instead, it’s probably like I said, somewhere between a 20 and 32% increase for 10 years, which means there is no next round.

Netflix Still A Smart Home For WWE

As far as whether Netflix is a smart place for WWE content to be, Meltzer thinks it is but questions if Netflix’s option to extend the deal for another ten years comes with any increase in price for WWE to cash in on:

Ari Emanuel, Nick Khan, and Mark Shapiro, they’re just smart guys. And I think that, with all the stuff that Nick Kahn was saying about that we think this thing’s going to grow and grow and Ari said the same thing. I don’t think that they had that confidence. Because if they did, they would have insisted on a shorter deal. I think that the big thing to them was more the exposure on Netflix and being on that property as that property expands all over the world.

It’s probably a good thing to be on. I think it’s a great deal. But from a pure financial situation, it’s not nearly what they had talked about, like a 50% increase and then getting into their big increase in a couple of years, that’s not going to happen.

And then I don’t know what the second 10 years of the thing are. I mean, obviously, that’s built into this deal, and how much that second 10 years increases. You know, that wasn’t mentioned, but that’s the one aspect of it, but they are, I mean, it’s like they’re not going to be a great growth company with this deal at from this point forward for four years unless they get a big growth thing.

Questions remain over Raw in the final months of 2024 with the USA Network confirming Raw will leave in October when WWE’s deal with NBC Universal comes to an end.

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