At yesterday’s WWE Q3 earnings report, new company President Nick Khan revealed the promotion is once again looking for buyers for its WWE Network content.
WWE is looking to replicate the highly successful model between UFC and ESPN+, which has seen UFC receive large payoffs and ESPN+ increase its subscriber count significantly since the deal to air UFC TV and PPV events.
On the call, Khan said that everything on the WWE Network (in terms of content) was for sale – other than the Network itself.
With streaming services globally looking for new content all the time in order to stay a step ahead of their rivals, WWE is in a strong position to negotiate due to the sheer amount of content available in its archives.
Khan mentioned that big hitters Amazon, Disney, Netflix and NBCU all have streaming services, suggesting these would be preferred destinations for WWE to outsource its content to, but there were no specifics given about who WWE is negotiating with or when any deal was likely to occur.
Khan made sure to point out that WWE’s main concern was to keep its current partners happy, seemingly seeing the streaming service model as more of a long game where they will re-assess the situation in a few years and go from there.
“If it’s a streaming first world,” he said, “we’re prepared for it.”
This is not the first time WWE has talked openly about selling its Network content. At the start of the year – prior to the Covid-19 pandemic putting everything on hold – Vince McMahon stated:
“Right now, there’s no better time to exercise the selling of our rights to all the majors who, quite frankly, all the majors are really clamouring for our content. So that could be a significant increase, obviously, in terms of revenue”.
As the idea has been on the table for so long, it seems inevitable that WWE content will be moved away from the Network – or at the very least shared with other services – sooner rather than later.