TKO’s Mark Shapiro talks Netflix deal and rights for premium live events

Mar 8, 2024 - by Colin Vassallo

TKO’s Mark Shapiro revealed at the Morgan Stanley Technology Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco that the group’s original talks with Netflix revolved around NXT and not the massive $5 billion deal that brought Raw and all WWE programming internationally to the streaming service.

Eventually, NXT went to The CW Network although it will be part of Netflix for all countries internationally where there’s no television deal in place.

Shapiro, who credited WWE President Nick Khan and TKO Chief Financial Officer Andrew Schleimer as the brains behind the deal, said that they’re looking forward to start the partnership and are confident in Netflix’s marketing strategy which will elevate WWE every time users log on to the service.

The TKO President and COO also talked about the WWE premium live events and sees those as the next opportunity to make a lot of money. Shapiro said that WWE’s deal with Peacock – $1 billion for five years – is underpriced and the WWE monthly events are surpassing all expectations for NBCU.

Shapiro noted that come 2026, when the domestic rights for WWE PLEs and the WWE Network expire, it will be a hotly-contested property and there’s a big demand already for those rights.

He didn’t say that they’re looking for Netflix to get everything but noted that with all providers they talked to, all conversations started with questions surrounding the WWE PLEs and their expiry.

NBCU will have a first shot at the renewal since they are the current contract holders for WWE Network and PLE content in the United States.

Colin Vassallo has been editor of Wrestling-Online since 1996

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