Ted Sarandos Says Netflix’s $5 Billion WWE Deal Does Not Mark Change in Sports Strategy

The co-CEO says the licensing deal leans into streamer’s sports storytelling and live programming goals

A man with light-toned skin and gray hair stands in front of a wrought iron fence with a NETFLIX logo behind him.
Ted Sarandos (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Despite just closing a massive $5 billion licensing deal with WWE, co-CEO Ted Sarandos warned Netflix’s recent deal does not mark a change in the streamer’s sports strategy.

“WWE is sports entertainment, so it’s really as close to our core as you can get of that sport storytelling, and in terms of the deal itself, it has options and it has the protections that we seek in our general licensing deals and with economics that we’re super happy with globally,” Sarandos said during Netflix’s earnings call on Tuesday. “I would not look at this as a signal of any other change or any change to our sports strategy.”

As a result of the licensing deal, which was announced Tuesday, WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” will move from USA Network to Netflix beginning in 2025 as the streamer becomes the international home of all WWE content.

During the earnings interview, Sarandos noted the deal’s appeal as it leaned into Netflix’s sports storytelling strategy, as well as its emphasis on live event programming.

“WWE is sports entertainment, which is right in the sweet spot of our sports business, which is the drama of sport,” he said. “Think of this as 52 weeks of live programming every year. It feeds our desire to expand our live event programming and but most importantly, fans love it. For decades, the WWE has grown this multi-generational fan base that we believe we could serve and we can grow.”

Sarandos went on to note the streamer believes WWE has been “historically under distributed outside of North America,” and the global aspect of the deal will assist in developing a “fandom around the world.” He added the deal would “add some fuel to our new and growing ad business.”

Despite declining to share economics of the exchange, Sarandos confirmed the deal fits within the streamer’s current $17 billion content spend.

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