Originally published at WWE posts another record-breaking quarter, notes from earnings call
WWE posted its latest record-breaking quarter with the first three months of the year generating over $333 million in total revenue.
WWE’s first-quarter earnings report reveals a net income of $66,041,000 off revenue of $333,448,000 – both records for the company in a quarter.
The company is keeping its 2022 guidance in past projections with an estimated Adjusted OIBDA figure between $360-370 million with the second quarter projected to earn $80-90 million in Adjusted OIBDA.
The company was bolstered by its media division and the return of live events, which were non-existent in the first quarter of 2021 due to the pandemic. This past quarter also featured the Elimination Chamber card in Saudi Arabia.
Media revenues for the quarter were $278,119,000, which is an increase from $242,027,000 in the first quarter of 2021.
That’s broken down into $56,335,000 in the Network section and is a decrease from last year’s revenue of $79.4 million, which included a one-time payment upfront at the launch of the WWE Network’s domestic licensing deal with Peacock.
Core content rights saw a small increase from $139,739,000 in 2021 to $141,523,000 in this year’s quarter.
On the television end, WWE Raw was listed at an average of 1,721,000 viewers for the quarter, which is a drop of eight percent year-over-year. The USA Network is up three percent, but that includes the Winter Olympics and would be down 15 percent factoring out the Olympics. The network average for USA is 729,000 viewers – meaning Raw pulls up the average significantly while NXT 2.0 averaged 617,000 viewers for the quarter (excluding two episodes of Syfy).
Friday Night SmackDown averaged 2,199,000 viewers throughout the quarter, which is flat with the year prior. Fox is averaging 2,832,000, which is also flat year-over-year. Where SmackDown shines is its 18-49 figures as it’s often the #1 or #2 network program on Friday nights but near the bottom of overall viewership compared with other network programs that night.
The revenue derived from the Elimination Chamber card in Saudi Arabia is recognized under ‘Other’ in the media segment and grouped with the distribution of WWE content including live in-ring programming in international markets, scripted, reality, and other programming, as well as direct-to-home video releases. That section grew from $7.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $60,494,000 this quarter, which is largely from the card in Saudi Arabia.
Advertising and sponsorships grew to $19,767,000 in revenue, which is up from $15.6 in the prior-year quarter.
Live events for the quarter generated $23,101,000 in revenue compared to $472,000 last year, which was a sector of the business blown out by the pandemic. For the quarter, WWE ran 53 ticketed events with 52 North American shows and one international show that had a total attendance figure of 296,600 (5,700 per event average) and an average ticket price of $67.00.
Consumer products generated $32,228,000 which is up from $21,025,000 in the same quarter last year. They attributed the increase to the roll-out and success of the WWE 2K22 video, which led to product licensing revenue nearly doubling from $11 million to $20 million this quarter.
The eCommerce business fell from $10 million to $7.7 million in revenue with the 115,400 orders averaging $66.09 per order compared to the first quarter of 2021 generating 158,700 orders and an average of $62.52 per order.
Venue merchandise posted $4.5 million in revenue with a per capita figure of $12.89 at the live events.
During the earnings with analysts, WWE president and chief revenue officer Nick Khan touted the viewership statistics for WrestleMania 38 on Peacock and internationally.
Khan outlined that it was the most-viewed WrestleMania in history given the added homes Peacock is in and the massive viewership they did in India this year as the key contributors.
He said there was a 61 percent increase on Peacock compared to the prior year’s WrestleMania (which is a fair comparison given both were two-night events) and doubled its viewership over WrestleMania Weekend compared with 2021.
WrestleMania 38 was credited as the second most-watched live event in the history of Peacock behind the Super Bowl and they believe their viewership figures will continue to grow while acknowledging an “extremely cluttered streaming market”.
Khan remains bullish on WWE’s options at the negotiating table for the domestic rights for Raw and Friday Night SmackDown conveying the message that one should expect more buyers looking for live event programming than anytime prior. He went on to run through the major moves being made by Netflix, AppleTV+, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu and the role live event programming will play for those streamers.
Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon-Levesque stated the company continues to explore the Metaverse with over 80 percent of its audience identifying themselves as “gamers” with plans for a role-playing game to be developed as one initiative.
McMahon-Levesque said the second NIL class will be introduced soon and the recent tryouts in Dallas produced fifteen hires with eight men and seven women and an average age of 23.
Tune into the POST Daily News Show on Friday at 1 p.m. ET for an extensive discussion of WWE’s Q1 earnings report with John Pollock & Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics