WWE Q2 revenues down year-on-year as lack of live events takes toll
USA's World Wrestling Entertainment has recorded a substantial drop in revenue for its second quarter, to $223.4 million from $268.9 million in the prior year period.
The decrease was almost entirely down to the lack of live WWE shows during the quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll on sports events worldwide. North American ticket sales had yielded $33.6 million in the second quarter last year.
Indeed revenue from total worldwide ticket sales fell from $48.8 million to $1 million year-on-year.
Despite falling revenue, operating income increased year-on-year to $55.7 million from $17.1 million due to “a decline in operating expenses that reflected lower content-related production and event costs, (and) short-term cost reductions implemented as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak”, the promotion confirmed in its accounts.
In terms of media income, WWE made an overall profit of $81.6 million, up from $26.9 million a year ago.
Of the $223.4 million in quarterly revenues, media accounted for $200.1 million, of which $132.9 million came from core content rights fees, following WWE renewing its domestic media rights deals for Raw and Smackdown, two of its most popular shows.
Consumer product-based income, including product licensing, digital commerce and venue merchandise, fell just under $1 million to $22.3 million.
Vince McMahon, WWE’s chairman and chief executive, said: “Our second quarter financial performance was strong and demonstrated our ability to respond to the challenges posed by Covid-19. We continue to adapt our business to the changing environment, focusing on the development of new content for global distribution platforms.”
For the six months ended 30 June, net revenue was $514.4 million, up year-on-year from $451.3 million, and operating income was $109 million, compared with $10.3 million for the first half of 2019.
Earlier this month, the promotion appointed Kristina Salen as its chief financial officer.
She replaces Frank Riddick, who has been interim CFO since WWE co-presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson left at the beginning of this year. Barrios had been CFO while Wilson was chief revenue officer.
Barrios and Wilson left at the end of January, after WWE posted lower revenues for each of the first three quarters of 2019 compared with 2018.