Sports entertainment company WWE has expanded its long-running relationship with Australian pay TV giant Foxtel Group with a new TV and WWE Network rights deal unveiled on Tuesday that makes Foxtel the exclusive destination for WWE in the country.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp owns a 65 percent stake in Foxtel, with Australian telecom powerhouse Telstra holding 35 percent. Foxtel has been WWE’s TV partner in the country for more than two decades. Streaming service WWE Network has, however, so far been a standalone service in Australia, operated by the sports entertainment firm. Now, WWE Network content will become available exclusively through Foxtel’s streaming service Binge, similar to how NBCUniversal streamer Peacock is the home of WWE Network content in the U.S.
The new multi-year partnership in Australia, financial terms of which weren’t disclosed, “will see Foxtel Group’s portfolio of entertainment brands become the home of WWE in Australia,” the companies said. The new agreement will “deliver the biggest line-up of WWE’s live and on demand content to Foxtel Group’s 4.5 million subscribers on Foxtel, as well as the rapidly growing streaming services Kayo Sports and Binge.”
WWE chairwoman and co-CEO Stephanie McMahon touted the deal as a chance to “grow the WWE audience throughout Australia.” She also highlighted: “With its far-reaching and engaged audience, the Foxtel Group has been a trusted and long-standing partner of WWE for more than 20 years. We look forward to expanding our partnership with the Foxtel Group and welcoming Binge as the new streaming home of WWE Network in the region.”
Said Foxtel chief content and commercial officer Amanda Laing: “We are thrilled to remain the long-term partner of WWE and be part of what will be an exciting new chapter for WWE in Australia. The reach of the Foxtel Group is a game-changer for our partners, such as WWE.”
The executive added: “It’s why sport and entertainment partners in Australia and around the globe, including major Hollywood studios and world-leading sports and now WWE, continue to choose the Foxtel Group to showcase their content and build their audience reach in Australia. We are particularly pleased to offer all our Foxtel Group subscribers access to WWE’s premium live events, that were previously only available on a pay-per-view basis for up to AUS$30 ($20) per event, for no extra cost.”
Under the deal, Foxtel’s streamer Binge will become “the new streaming home of WWE Network in Australia from January 2023 with all WWE premium live events, including Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 39, and entertainment content available with a Binge subscription, starting from just $10 per month,” the partners noted. “WWE will continue to be available to all Foxtel subscribers on both the FOX8 channel and on a new, dedicated 24/7 WWE channel to launch from December 2022.”
Foxtel will air on both these channels all of WWE’s premium live events, formerly known as pay-per-views, plus weekly live episodes of regular TV flagship shows Raw, SmackDown and NXT. “Selected content will continue to be available via Kayo Sports,” Foxtel’s sports streamer, the partners said.
Binge executive director Alison Hurbert-Burns added: “For generations WWE has delighted fans across the globe and we’re thrilled this expanded partnership makes Binge the new streaming home of WWE in Australia. We can’t wait to bring WWE’s unpredictable drama, larger-than-life personalities from past and present, including Roman Reigns, Rey Mysterio, Ronda Rousey, John Cena and The Undertaker, along with all the world-class WWE action to passionate Australian fans.”
In the U.S., Fox, part of Murdoch’s Fox Corp., airs WWE’s SmackDown, with NBCUniversal networks showing other WWE shows and the company’s streamer Peacock being the home of WWE Network. Last week’s SmackDown show drew 2.54 million viewers, the largest audience since 2020.
WWE last year also struck a multi-year deal with Blockchain Creative Labs, Fox Entertainment and Bento Box Entertainment’s non-fungible token (NFT) business and studio, to launch a marketplace for licensed WWE digital tokens and collectables.