While World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) may be the most globally recognizable brand when it comes to sports entertainment, the company has come under extreme scrutiny for new and restrictive measures to take over wrestler’s Twitch accounts.
The world of professional wrestling is often compared to a traveling circus. Talented performers move from country to country each week in order to entertain fans with acrobatic feats and over the top storytelling. Despite raking in tens of millions each year, WWE still treats its wrestlers as independent contractors.
As a result of this, they’re not afforded many basic workers rights such as annual leave or health insurance to name a few. In recent years, many have looked outside of the wrestling bubble for a little extra compensation on the side. Whether it was Cameo to create quick, personalized videos for fans, or YouTube, to give fans a more intricate look behind the scenes.
One such avenue was livestreaming on Twitch. A number of key personalities stream on the Amazon-owned platform, sharing their gaming downtime with fans around the world. However, WWE recently tried to put a stop to these extra activities and now, this move has reportedly gone through.
“It is imperative that these activities be terminated within the next 30 days,” CEO Vince McMahon shared with every WWE employee on September 4. “Continued violations will result in fines, suspension or termination at WWE’s discretion.”
Since then, wrestlers were informed that they were allowed to keep their accounts running on various third-party platforms. However, WWE needed to be informed of each account. Over the next four weeks, the wrestling company will be taking control of them all, according to reports from Wrestling Inc.
WWE will be in direct control of these accounts, though talent will still be entitled to a percentage of revenue. Instead of taking home all of the income through their work outside of the squared circle, this now means that wrestlers are only allowed a certain cut.
From the longest reigning NXT champion Adam Cole to The New Day’s Xavier Woods, plenty of the biggest stars in the industry have honed in on Twitch over the past few years. Perhaps these streams could soon come to an end by WWE’s hand.
There’s no telling just how big a shakeup this might cause, though many have already been deleting their Cameo accounts just to be safe. Perhaps an exodus on Twitch could be right around the corner.
WWE will allegedly be taking control of every Twitch account in exactly four weeks. Keep your eyes peeled towards the end of October for any major developments.