WWE reports first quarter 2022 results, announces $333.4 million revenue

Originally published at WWE reports first quarter 2022 results, announces $333.4 million revenue

WWE’s first quarter earnings report.

Ahead of the first quarter conference call at 5 PM EST, WWE pushed out their first quarter results for 2022 and the company announced a revenue of $333.4 million. Below is the press release:

First Quarter 2022 Highlights

  • Revenue was $333.4 million, an increase of 27% and a quarterly record; Operating Income was $92.4 million, an increase of 42%; and Adjusted OIBDA1 was $111.7 million, an increase of 33% and a quarterly record
  • Returned capital to shareholders totaling $38.9 million, including share repurchases and dividends paid
  • Announced a multi-year expansion of the Company’s original programming partnership with A&E that includes more than 130 new hours of premium WWE-themed series and specials
  • Announced a broadcast partnership with MBC Group, the largest and leading group in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, to air WWE premium live events, live episodes of Raw and SmackDown as well as WWE Network’s vast library of content
  • Announced a comprehensive, long-term partnership with Fanatics to create a new, enhanced digital platform for e-commerce and licensed merchandise, as well as physical, digital, and non-fungible token (NFT) trading cards
  • WWE 2K22, the latest installment of the Company’s flagship video game franchise, was released to strong consumer demand and rave reviews

WrestleMania Highlights (April 2-3, 2022)

  • WrestleMania was held at AT&T Stadium in Dallas over two consecutive nights in front of a combined 156,352 fans. WrestleMania was WWE’s highest-grossing and most-attended event in company history
  • WrestleMania was the most viewed WWE premium live event of all time. Global unique viewership increased 54% and domestic unique viewership increased 61% year-over-year
  • WrestleMania was the second most viewed event on Peacock to date, behind only Super Bowl LVI
  • WrestleMania generated 2.2 billion social media impressions, more than the 1.8 billion impressions generated by Super Bowl LVI
  • WrestleMania viewership in India was a record 56.1 million, a 29% increase year-over-year

2022 Business Outlook2

  • The Company reaffirms its expectations for 2022, which assume ticketed audiences at the Company’s live events for the full year, and target record revenue and an Adjusted OIBDA range of $360 – $375 million, which would be an all-time record. This range of anticipated performance reflects the continued ramp-up of live events, including large-scale international events, and increased monetization of content, partially offset by increased production, content-related, and other expenses.

STAMFORD, Conn., May 5, 2022 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2022.

“We are off to a strong start in 2022, highlighted by record quarterly revenue and Adjusted OIBDA,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “We continued to effectively execute our strategy, including staging the most stupendous WrestleMania ever in early April. WrestleMania, as well as our other successful premium live events such as Day 1, Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, further expanded the reach of our brands and enhanced the value of our content as evidenced by increased ticket revenue and viewership. We continue to monetize our intellectual property across various platforms through our media rights agreements, both domestically and abroad, as well as through the monetization of new original series, including our expanded partnership with A&E.”

Frank Riddick, WWE Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, added “In the quarter, we exceeded the high end of our guidance. Adjusted OIBDA increased 33% reflecting 27% revenue growth. Our strong financial performance was primarily driven by our return to a full live event schedule, including the staging of a successful large-scale international event. These items more than offset the absence of one-time upfront revenue recognition related to the delivery of certain WWE Network intellectual property rights in the prior year period.”

First-Quarter Consolidated Results

Revenue increased 27% to $333.4 million, primarily due to the timing of a large-scale international event as well as higher ticket sales due to the return of ticketed audiences at our live events. These increases were partially offset by a decline in network revenues primarily due to the impact of upfront revenue recognition in the prior year quarter related to the delivery of certain WWE Network intellectual property rights.

Operating Income increased 42%, or $27.3 million, to $92.4 million, driven by the increase in revenue partially offset by an increase in operating expenses. The increase in operating expenses was primarily driven by return to live event touring, including the timing of a large-scale international event, partially offset by lower television production costs associated with the creation of the Company’s weekly, in-ring content. In the prior year period, WWE produced its weekly, televised programs utilizing the higher cost environment of WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida. The Company’s operating income margin increased to 28% from 25%.

Adjusted OIBDA (which excludes stock compensation) increased 33%, or $27.8 million, to $111.7 million. The Company’s adjusted OIBDA margin increased to 34% from 32%.

Net Income was $66.1 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, an increase from $43.8 million, or $0.51 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2021, primarily reflecting higher operating performance.

Cash flows generated by operating activities were $95.5 million, an increase from $59.9 million, primarily due to the timing of collections associated with WWE Network revenue and, to a lesser extent, higher net income. These increases were partially offset by the increased payout of management incentive compensation.

Free Cash Flow3 was $74.0 million, an increase from $53.8 million, primarily due to the change in operating cash flow, partially offset by an increase in capital expenditures.4 For the three months ended March 31, 2022, the Company incurred $13.1 million of capital expenditures related to its new headquarter facility. Excluding the capital expenditures related to the new headquarter facility, Free Cash Flow for the three months ended March 31, 2022 was $87.1 million.

Return of Capital to Shareholders

The Company returned $38.9 million to shareholders in the first quarter of 2022, including $30.0 million in share repurchases and $8.9 million in dividends paid. Under the Company’s existing stock repurchase program, approximately 525,000 shares were repurchased at an average price of $57.21 per share. As of March 31, 2022, the Company had $221 million available under its $500 million stock repurchase authorization.

Following the conference call, John Pollock will have a recap on the site and he’ll be joined by Brandon Thurston on the 5/6 Daily News show to chat about the call.