Jeff Bezos Wants to Buy WWE’s Pay-Per-View Rights

admin_fortress | Feb 19, 2020

Published in Marketplace News

Jeff Bezos just got his Money in the Bank opportunity.

Amazon has dipped their toes into live shopping experiences, home security, concerts, and grocery stores. Now, the e-commerce giant has another opportunity on their hands: breaking down the walls of pay-per-view events.

Photo Credit: WWE

Chris Jericho’s entrance

According to Ringside News (and Forbes, okay?), Jeff Bezos has expressed interest in purchasing the rights to all major WWE PPV (pay-per-view) events, which would include Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summer Slam, and Money in the Bank. This may eventually lead to the acquisition of the entire sports entertainment company, pending the McMahon-Helmsley Faction allows it.

This news comes along with the departure of two major figures on the WWE board and a huge drop in reported revenue, attributed to a fall in house show attendance (live events that aren’t televised) and a disappointing subscriber count from WWE’s own over-the-top streaming service, WWE Network.

Started in 2014, WWE Network has been a great asset for wrestling diehards that want to watch WWE’s entire PPV, Monday Night Raw, NXT, and Smackdown catalog with some additional original content and matches from indie circuits; a bargain for $9.99 a month.

Even more Amazon news broke on February 17th (WHAT?) which reported Amazon is possibly developing their own streaming service. It’s assumed that the acquisition of WWE’s PPV rights may mean a permanent move to Amazon’s streaming service.

Whether or not WWE Network would remain the home to archived pay-per-view events and live shows is yet to be seen, nor does it speak for fan willingness to switch platforms.

Regardless of immediate fan perception, the Amazon streaming service would inevitably deliver a tombstone piledriver to Disney+.

Disney+ is one of the latest services to enter the Streaming Wars. One huge missing piece from Disney+ is the Disney owned ESPN (because ESPN has their own network, of course). Disney does offer a discounted bundle of Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, but doesn’t give the experience of an all-inclusive single platform. Instead, customers get 3 to switch between.

Amazon producing original shows and movies, and purchasing sports content would make Amazon’s streaming services one of the most diverse out there.

As for the current state of higher-ups in WWE, it’s quite the family affair.

Photo Credit: WWE

From left to right: Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie McMahon currently acts as WWE’s Chief Brand Officer. Her husband and on-and-off wrestler, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, is the current Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative, with a huge focus on WWE’s Wednesday night brand extension, NXT. Vince McMahon’s son Shane McMahon is a minority owner of WWE and frequently appears in broadcasts and the occasional PPV match.

Photo Credit: WWE

Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32

With Vince McMahon at the ripe age of 74 and reports of his presence at live events declining, it may be time for him to pass the torch. And while family trust may be present enough to put the company in the hands of The Billion Dollar Princess and one of the founding members of D-Generation X, (maybe in this case Shane O’Mac would make his return to the company as well) that doesn’t mean the funding is there. That’s where Bezos inevitably struts in.

The drastic drop in value of the sports entertainment giant and the enormous brand power WWE superstars bring to the table, this PPV acquisition makes a lot of sense for WWE to survive and remains a huge licensing opportunity for Bezos, especially for future development of the Amazon brand.

WWE is the best of the best when it comes to brand partnerships and product placements. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on both Fox and USA, you will see a few ads for Cricket Wireless featuring Charlotte Flair and The Miz, and a Skittles ad featuring all three members of the New Day. If you were watching the Super Bowl this year, you may have seen Ric Flair and John Cena starring in Sabra and Michelob Ultra commercials, respectively. The People’s Champ was also featured on game day introducing the 49ers and Chiefs.

Photo Credit: Sabra

Amazon’s incessant product lines and technology match up with WWE’s talent roster perfectly.

As Fortress Brand’s resident mainstream wrestling fanatic, I wanted to dive into the endless possibilities of Amazon purchasing the rights to WWE pay-per-view events, and eventually the whole company. So let’s make these rumors Go To Sleep and dive into the incredible brand pairings that can occur from this partial partnership.

OWN PWR x Roman Reigns

Photo Credit: WWE

If I could award Amazon a championship belt, it would be the Intercontinental Champion of Private Label Brands. Amazon has a private label brand for basically any product vertical you can think of, including a sports nutrition and supplement brand called OWN PWR. The WWE partnership would allow some much-needed star power to boost the brand.

A natural choice of superstar to boast the OWN PWR brand would probably be the Big Dog, Roman Reigns. The dark, masculine packaging of OWN PWR meshes well with Reigns’ dark persona and tactical vest uniform.

Amazon Echo x Alexa Bliss

Photo Credit: WWE

This is a more obvious one. Alexa Bliss, the goddess herself, can pose as the temporary voice of Alexa, Amazon’s AI assistant found in every device you could think of, including headphones and microwaves. Her talk show segment, A Moment of Bliss, would be the perfect moment for the product placement. That tastefully placed side table is begging for an Amazon Echo!

Resurgence of the Attitude Era

Photo Credit: Paste Magazine

Okay, this is a reach, but can I get a hell yeah?

A common opinion (fact?) among wrestling fans is that the Attitude Era of WWE is the best wrestling era ever. This era embodied fighting the authority, Vince McMahon too often appearing in the ring, and the most dangerous matches of all time, including the high flying Hardy Boys popularizing the Ladder Match. This is something wrestling fans have been hungry for since the early 2000s.

Amazon taking over the company would be spoon-feeding WWE writers into an anti-authority frenzy. For a modern take, may I suggest a sequel to CM Punk’s infamous pipe bomb? I’m sure the straight edge former-superstar has some words for Bezos.

I’m personally left with a lot of curiosity about this potential business deal. Like…

Will Bezos ever have a stint as General Manager of Monday Night Raw? If so, what would his entrance music be? Or his finishing move? Maybe the mandible claw, but with dollar bills instead of a sock? Whose name would be found on the List of Bezos?

But what we do know for sure: there won’t be a Battle of the Billionaires match with the shaved head stipulation with Bezos on board because, well…