By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE issued the following press release on Thursday to announce a new Japanese media rights deal with ABEMA.
STAMFORD, Conn., September 28, 2023 – WWE®, part of TKO Group Holdings (NYSE: TKO), and ABEMA have agreed to a new media rights partnership in Japan that will see WWE’s flagship programming broadcast exclusively on ABEMA platforms in Japan beginning October 2023.
Raw and SmackDown will both broadcast free-to-air in Japan every week with Japanese commentary immediately following first broadcast in the U.S., for the first time ever. Starting with Raw on Tuesday, October 3 (and every Tuesday night at 8pm local time) and SmackDown on Saturday, October 7 (and every Saturday night at 8pm local time), both weekly shows will also be available to watch on-demand. The new agreement will also see NXT® available to watch on-demand in Japan via ABEMA Video.
Additionally, all WWE Premium Live Events will air exclusively live on ABEMA, with all past editions of WrestleMania® available to view on-demand via ABEMA Video beginning October 1.
Powell’s POV: For whatever it’s worth, New Japan Pro Wrestling television partner TV Asahi has a minority ownership stake in ABEMA. Wikipedia lists the ABEMA user base as 6.52 million.