WWE seals pay-television deal with DAZN in German-speaking countries

Wrestling entertainment series WWE has secured a new pay-television rights deal with international streaming service DAZN in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The new multi-year deal, starting immediately, affords DAZN the rights to broadcast live and on-demand coverage of WWE’s flagship programmes, Raw and SmackDown, as well as the weekly recap series Bottom Line and Afterburn.

Its live coverage of Raw and Smackdown is exclusive. The WWE does also have a free-to-air deal in the DACH region with commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 for on-demand coverage of both flagship programmes. Last week, ProSiebenSat.1 agreed a new multi-year deal with the WWE.

DAZN’s deal does not include rights the WWE’s monthly pay-per-view events. These will be exclusive to the WWE’s own direct-to-consumer OTT service, WWE Network.

Previously the PPV events had been included in the WWE’s previous three-year pay-television rights deal, from April 2017 to March 2020, with pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland. The broadcaster announced in February that it would be dropping WWE due to the PPV events not being included in any new deal, and signed a deal with rival promotion All Elite Wrestling.

The WWE has pushed ahead with its programming despite the Covid-19 outbreak, with events taking place with no live audience. Because of this, the WWE will not be affected by DAZN’s decision last week to not make its next rights fee payments for any content that has yet to be delivered.

DAZN’s live sports content across all nine territories in which it operates has been decimated following the outbreak.

The OTT service is extremely susceptible to subscriber churn due to its sports-only focus and its flexible subscription monthly model for customers. It is however, continuing to buy additional on-demand and archive content to try and slow the churn.