WWE released its first-quarter earnings report on Thursday evening that has led to an increase in the company’s stock value during after-hours trading.
For the quarter, that reported net income of $26,173,000 off revenue of $291,009,000 for the period covering January 1st through March 31st. This compares to the first quarter of 2019 that saw a loss of $8,396,000 off revenue of $182,448,000. Operating income for the quarter was listed at $53.3 million compared to a loss of $6.8 in the prior year’s quarter.
The empty arena shows had less impact during this quarter with the company beginning to run closed events on Friday, March 13th, so the impact was only felt for under three weeks of the quarter.
When it comes to their liquidity, the company stated they have $292 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments. They have also drawn $200 million from its revolving line of credit giving the company close to $500 million in liquidity.
The company was bolstered through its core content rights fees increasing significantly as both the new deals with NBC Universal and Fox went into effect in the fourth quarter of 2019. This led to an increase from $68.1 million in last year’s quarter up to $133.2 million.
The Super ShowDown card would be grouped into the category of ‘Other’ that includes revenue from other WWE content including in-ring content from international markets, scripted, reality, and other programming, as well as theatrical and direct-to-home video releases. This category posted revenues of $62.5 million, which is up from $9.4 in the first quarter of 2019, which didn’t feature a card from Saudi Arabia.
Highlights from the quarter within the media division, which generated $89.3 million in operating income, also featured the Netflix partnerships for “The Big Show Show” and “The Main Event”, the competition of the latest seasons of “Miz & Mrs.” and “Total Bellas”, as well as additional content deals with FS1 adding 22 hours of WWE programming on Tuesday, and the ESPN deal to re-air three past WrestleMania events.
The WWE Network averaged 1,460,000 subscribers for the quarter. It was noted that as of April 6th, the day after WrestleMania, the network stood at 2.10 million total subs. That number would be up from the day after WrestleMania 35 last year, which was right at two million. They did not breakdown how many paid subs made up that number of 2.10 million.
Live events were down to $17.5 million from $26.2 million. The COVID-19 pandemic had less impact as it only affected the final three weeks of the quarter. They will feel a major hit in this department in the next quarter, which would have included WrestleMania on top of the loss of live events.
They ran 49 fewer events this past quarter with 41 in North American and the Super ShowDown event in Saudi Arabia in February as their lone international date. The average attendance figure was 6,320 (assisted by Royal Rumble being inside a stadium, they did not include Super ShowDown in their average) and an average ticket price of $53.46.
Consumer products brought in $16.9 million, which is down from $20.8. Consumer product licensing ($7.7 from $9.4) and eCommerce ($6.0 from $6.6) both fell during the quarter and venue merchandise dropped from $4.8 to $3.2 million and will be decimated in the second quarter.
In terms of guidance, they now estimate reduced capital expenditures of $40-50 million in 2020 due to the deferral of spending on their new headquarters. They had initially pegged expenditures between $180-220 million for the year.
After closing at $39.07 on Thursday, WWE’s stock has risen in after-hours trading in the range of $43.80 at last check.