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Amazon could potentially tag-team with the world’s biggest wrestling brand to gain an advantage in the streaming wars, according to a Needham.
Not only could the Jeff Bezos-led tech retail juggernaut buy the streaming rights to World Wrestling Entertainment content, but it also could potentially buy the whole company one day, Needham analyst Laura Martin said.
“We believe that such a licensing deal would put AMZN in the best spot to purchase all of WWE, whenever the family is ready to exit,” Martin said. “Vince McMahon is currently 74 years old, going on 50.”
WWE’s over-the-top streaming platform would be attractive to Amazon or other streaming services because it brings in a loyal fanbase, unlike new shows the companies are developing,
“WWE’s live programming is highly differentiated and its Raw, Smackdown and NXT brands are worth more than being any one of 500 series that have no builtin audience or brand,” Martin said.
McMahon, WWE’s CEO, said on an earnings call earlier this week that there was interest in the rights to wrestling programming from major streaming companies. WWE currently has its own streaming service, which includes all of its pay-per-view events and other content.
Martin, who has a buy rating on the stock, said one scenario for WWE is for Amazon to buy the licensing and streaming rights for the wrestling company. Such a deal could also position Amazon to eventually bring the whole wrestling company in-house.
If Amazon were to throw its hat in the ring for live wrestling rights, it wouldn’t be turning heel. The tech giant has already dabbled in live sports before, streaming some Thursday night NFL games in recent years.
WWE may be a more attractive acquisition target now than it was several months ago. The wrestling company’s stock has plummeted more than 30% so far this year, bringing its market cap under $4 billion.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.