Peacock becomes the exclusive U.S. distributor of the WWE Network

Originally published at Peacock becomes the exclusive U.S. distributor of the WWE Network

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service has obtained the U.S. rights for the WWE Network, including all pay-per-views events beginning in March.

The deal for the WWE is a multi-year one that the Wall Street Journal and Sports Business Journal outlets are reporting is worth north of $1 billion over five-years.

The idea of licensing content from the WWE Network was a hot topic one year ago with Vince McMahon noting how close to the finish line they were for such a deal, prior to the pandemic slowing things down.

Variety reports that migration of existing WWE Network subscribers in the U.S. will occur, although details of how that migration will occur are unclear. Those moving over to Peacock will have the WWE content available on the Peacock Premium tier at $4.99 per month, which includes ads or can upgrade to $9.99 per month for the ad-free Peacock Premium Plus. The release stated that Peacock will offer both on-demand content and a 24/7 channel.

WWE content will launch on the service beginning March 18th with the first pay-per-view to stream on March 21st with the company’s Fastlane event. It states that the rollout will begin with the figure of 17,000 hours of content to be part of their plan to migrate to Peacock.

The following content is listed in the release:

  • All live pay-per-view events including WrestleMania and SummerSlam; Fastlane will be the first WWE pay-per-view to stream on Peacock on Sunday, March 21.
  • Original series like Steve Austin Broken Skull Sessions, Undertaker: The Last Ride and the all-new WWE Icons;
  • In-ring shows like NXT, NXT UK and WWE 205 Live, as well as replays of Raw and SmackDown;
  • WWE Network archives, including every WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-view event in history;
  • Groundbreaking documentaries, including WWE 24, WWE Untold, and WWE 365;
  • And, starting in 2022, one signature documentary annually.

Another component to the deal is one annual documentary release from WWE beginning in 2022.

In terms of exposure, Peacock has significantly more reach after hitting close to 22 million sign-ups, as of last October when Comcast reported its quarterly earnings. The service is still in its developing stages after launching last July.

In the third quarter of 2020, U.S. subscribers for the network were 1,137,000 with 412,000 international subs.

There are no changes to the WWE Network outside of the U.S., which include specific distribution deals in Canada and India.

Later today, we will have a special show covering this story with Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics.

This is a huge deal.

As a WWE Network subscriber, I look forward to paying less for it through this Peacock deal, but I am curious about other parts of it, which may or may not come up when John and Brandon talk later. Would having an ad-supported Peacock sub mean an ad-supported WWE Network sub? I don’t even have Peacock, so I don’t know how well that service is working compared to WWE’s, or other, bigger streaming services.


Great deal for WWE, just curious where this puts NXT going forward.


NXT deal has to be negotiated separately. It’s no longer packaged with the network. Maybe it ultimately goes to Peacock as a premium content, but it has little to do with what happened today.

Should of done this from the beginning. They could’ve had a UFC type deal with one of these Mega streaming services.

I was about to say…

“Coming soon to Peacock and returning home to the Award Winning WWE Network, every Wednesday night, NXT!”

If as speculated last week by John and Wai, NHL is headed to USA, I could totally see NXT “transitioning” back to a return to the Network. However, it would be marketed as a big anchor program on Peacock vs a demotion return to the Network.

Aside from that, this is a huge deal. That said, I wonder if an Amazon Prime or Netflix was ever in the conversation.

Also, this totally feels like NBC Universal will be owning WWE outright by the end of this decade.


Netflix seem to be only interested in movies,tv, and documentaries. They don’t seem to be interested in sports or in WWE’s case Sports Entertainment programming. They do have Sport Documentaries on there but that seems to be it.


Good point. That said, I do remember pre-Network, they had a decent selection of WWE compilations and such (mostly stuff that had been released as DVD sets).

Market not looking at this favorable; market has been punishing companies seen as non-growth.


Hard to argue this. It’s totally clear that this move is WWE “cashing out” (albeit for crazy short term financial gain), the biggest thing they’ve built for the better part of a decade. It wasn’t growing, and they took the best money they could.

Until TV rights deals are up - there is nothing really driving WWE’s growth at the current moment in the USA.


Well with the Arms Race between these Mega streaming services heating up. They needed to pick a side anyway. They saw the writing on the wall. They chose to be with their long time friends in Comcast. I would say it had more to do with having a Security Blanket. Because I don’t think smaller streaming services like the Network are going to survive in this streaming war unless they teamed up with the big players.

One thing that hasn’t been answered. Is what does mean for their future with Fox? I know Smackdown is with them for a few more years.


Wow! Definitely appears to be a huge win for both Peacock and WWE. I haven’t read all the details yet, but curious to see what Peacock are paying them.

I believe it is $200M a year.


John had a great chat with Brandon Thurston about the deal - it’s up on the POST Wrestling podcast feed and the YouTube channel.


Ya I saw that, I just havent had a chance to listen yet. I’m very curious to get more details.

I’m sure someone out there will find ways to pick at this deal, but for them and for us, this seems like a good win.

WWE Network was created as the net for cable rights and for the possibility of PPVs falling by the wayside. LOL on there being no home for cable. PPVs…perhaps they got ahead of themselves. But if I remember correctly, they were pulling in less than $200M a year before the move and that’s before you take out the share providers got. Plus the advent of the network gave them the ability to eventually sell off rights for NXT (whether or not it winds up on Peacock, it’s another large deal for them). So they did what they set out to do and then some. And they still have international to sell. And in 5 years this deal may grow even more based on how other OTT content deals have gone.

For us - at worst it’s the same price, but now we get commercial free rights to a ton more sports and entertainment content. And if we can deal with commercials, it’s half price. No PPVs, no Wrestlemania special prices like we all assumed was in the pipeline. Just a great situation for fans and a price point they probably couldn’t do on their own. Crazy to think we were shelling out $500 a year to watch a year’s worth of PPV’s at one point and now it’s a bit over a 1/10th of that.

An interesting day to say the least.

It’s a great win. Will be even better when Comcast buys WWE and actually does something creative with all that WWE has to offer as a content and IP brand.

Like the best subtle thing that could actually help the product is NBCU/Peacock using actual consumer analytics in a meaningful way to push WWE to do more that their viewers like. It’s like a network giving notes to the TV show producers. What happens when 5 million people watch a 24/7, how do you hold back Liv Morgan after that?

1 Like

Or we’ll just wind up with even more Goldberg.


The fact that these companies are willing to pay such big money for a product that the fandom at large generally deems bad to terrible, I don’t really know if WWE’s owners using consumer analytics is gonna be a good thing. Weddings, soap opera storylines, and old wrestlers still do typically better numbers. “Sports entertainment” does better numbers than, “more traditional or simplistic pro wrestling”.

I’ve felt this way for years, and it’s only gotten stronger as WWE has gotten worse, run off more fans, and insulated itself with cash more. Vince McMahon is ultimately gonna leave the wrestling business very dry once he’s done. He is the biggest name actively involved in wrestling, and I think that carries more weight in board meetings than we’ll be able to fully grasp until he’s gone.

Yeah, I think my fear is that the way WWE sees this is that they’ve done everything right, and all these big paydays show just how much more they know than their hardcore audience / anybody.

At this point in the United States, they gave zero reason or motivation to change anything they do.

As I’ve said for years, WWE has essentially grown into what WCW. They are essentially an arm of a billion dollar multi-media conglomerate. All that’s missing is them to officially be purchased.

I think Thurston said it well on the pod this afternoon with John… Comcast is basically “leasing” WWE. I’m sure they’re going to be looking to buy before the decade is through.