WWE hits quarterly earnings with record earnings

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. flattened another fiscal quarter on Thursday, confirming its top rope position in the industry and a relentless austerity program.

The heavyweight of the wrestling industry WWE,
reported Net income of $66.1 million, or 77 cents a share, compared to net income of $43.8 million, or 51 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

WWE net income increased 27% to $333.4 million from $263.5 million last year. The company’s top three revenue streams — media ($278.1 million), consumer products ($32.2 million), and live events ($23.1 million) — all grew significantly year over year.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting net income of 65 cents per share on sales of $325 million.

WWE stock rose 4.7% in after-hours trading on Thursday.

The last fiscal year was a body slam for WWE. The standout name in the industry posted its highest-grossing year to date ($1 billion) and most profitable ($180 million), but it came at a price, with more than 100 wrestlers laid off throughout 2021 amid steady job cuts The year has been such a profitable success for Chief Executive Vince McMahon.

The quarter featured a two-night version of his WrestleMania extravaganza, which drew 156,352 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the most-watched WWE Premium live event of all time. “We believe WWE is offering a compelling reopening trade and that business momentum will remain high,” benchmark analyst Mike Hickey said in a note late Thursday.

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“We’ve had a strong start to 2022, underscored by record quarterly revenue and adjusted OIBDA,” said McMahon calledannounce the results.

in one web cast Speaking with analysts late Thursday, WWE President Nick Khan noted the continued appeal and potential future growth of live sporting events on streaming services like Comcast Corp’s CMCSA.
Peacock, a major licensing partner of WWE. He pointed to MLB games on Apple Inc.’s AAPL,
Apple TV+ and the NFL on AMZN by Inc.,
Prime video. He also noted that WWE will be increasing live events at larger venues across the United States and abroad.

Still, last year’s cost cuts and the aftermath of COVID have contributed to lower TV ratings, smaller live viewership and a general uneasiness about the product, argue critics from WWE and McMahon.

“It’s hard to teach an old dog anything [McMahon] new tricks,” Bryan Alvarez, a former wrestler and radio host on Wrestling Observer Live, told MarketWatch. “Vince trusts [longtime wrestlers] Randy Orton and New Day. He has younger talents to learn and fail. He has no patience.”

At the same time, with the emergence of Tony Khan’s All Elite Wrestling, which has become a fixture on AT&T Inc.’s T, WWE faces its first real competition in 20 years.

Cable networks TNT and TBS.

Nonetheless, so far in 2022, WWE stock is up 20.6%, while the broader S&P 500 index SPX,
has fallen by 13%. WWE hits quarterly earnings with record earnings

Brian Lowry

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