NBC is making a lot of moves early in 2021 when it comes to sports entertainment. A few days after a report that NBCUniversal is going to shut down NBC Sports Network, we now get word NBCUniversal has struck a deal to get exclusive streaming rights to WWE Network content.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock has agreed to a 5-year, $1B+ deal for exclusive streaming rights to WWE content (@JBFlint).— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) January 25, 2021
— Launched in 2014
— 1.6M global subs
The real winner?
WWE fans — With both priced at $9.99, they'll essentially get Peacock for free.
Why would WWE get out of the streaming business at this point? Although 1.6 million subscriptions would theoretically bring in $192 million in revenue per year, there are plenty of associated costs. There is the backend of the streaming service, the customer service support for WWE Network, and plenty of marketing costs to grow the consumer base. They don’t remove all costs by licensing out the content, but this does make it a whole lot easier.
NBCUniversal is likely to get a boost in subscriber numbers from WWE fans heading to the service. They’ve got a long-standing relationship with the WWE, so that part of this makes sense. Additionally, the move away from NBC Sports Network seemed like part of a play to move more content to Peacock at some point, so this would seem to further that strategy.
The streaming wars are not going away anytime soon and sports fans are going to be stuck in the middle as more networks move content to OTT services.