The chairman and CEO of the sport and entertainment franchise, WWE, has championed the business’ creativity throughout a challenging environment, highlighted a strong performance for the brand in its third quarter financials.
WWE has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic that has rendered live events – the model upon which WWE generates a majority of its income – impossible to maintain to the same volume and capacity of live audiences as pre-Covid times. Despite the impact that has driven a 97 per cent decrease in revenue generated by live events, the organisation remains optimistic.
Consolidated results see the franchise hit third quarter revenue of $221.6 million, an increase of 19 per cent – or $35.3 million – on the same period last year, that has been primarily driven by the growth of core content rights fees in the media segment. This revenue was partially off-set by the loss of ticket and merchandise sales that resulted from the cancellation, postponement and relocation of its live events.
Revenue generated from live events plunged to $0.7 million.
However, the brand’s consumer products sales witnessed a revenue increase of 17 per cent on Q3 2019, taking it to $19.9 million in reflection of increased merchandise sales at the Company’s e-commerce site, WWE Shop, and higher video game and toy royalties. Increased sales via its e-commerce platform substantially off-set the absence of venue merchandise sales resulting from the absence of ticketed audience events in the quarter.
“Our third quarter financial performance was strong and reflected our ongoing creativity in a challenging environment,” said Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and CEO. “We continue to adapt our business, as demonstrated by the creation of WWE ThunderDome, focusing on increasing audience interaction and engagement to support the value of our content globally.”
Kristina Salen, WWE chief financial officer, added: “In the quarter, we delivered revenue of $221.6 million and Adjusted OIBDA of $84.3 million based on increased rights fees for the Company’s flagship programming. With $638 million in cash and short-term investments at quarter-end, we believe WWE has substantial capital resources to manage challenges that may lie ahead and to deliver on key strategic initiatives.”
Net Income for the WWE business was $48.2 million, an increase from $5.8 million in the third quarter 2019, primarily reflecting stronger operating performance.