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WWE Q1: Network sale offsets live event losses

April 23, 2021

By Nik Roseveare

WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) has reported Q1 revenue of $263.5 million (€218.3m), a decrease of 9 per cent or $27.5 million, reflecting the absence of the company’s live ticketed events and tours, partially offset by the upfront revenue recognition related to the delivery of certain WWE Network intellectual property rights.

WWE Network launched on Peacock, NBCU’s streaming service, in the US on March 18th, expanding the reach of WWE’s premium content, including live pay-per-views, original series and in-ring shows.

37 was held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida over two consecutive sold-out nights on April 10th/11th in front of a combined 51,350 fans. WrestleMania was the first WWE live event with a ticketed audience to take place since the Covid-19 outbreak more than a year ago. Weekly TV shows remain in the Thunderdome, in front of virtual audiences.

WWE set WrestleMania Week viewership records with nearly 1.1 billion video views across digital and social platforms, representing a 14 per cent increase from the prior year. A record of nearly 32 million hours of content was consumed during the week, an increase of 9 per cent from the prior year

Digital video views were 9.4 billion, a decrease of 2 per cent, and hours consumed were 367 million, an increase of 7 per cent, across digital and social platforms.

“During the first quarter, we continued to effectively execute our strategy, demonstrating our ability to adapt to a challenging live event environment and to expand the reach and monetisation of our content in a changing media landscape,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “The launch of WWE Network on NBCU’s streaming service, Peacock, the multi-year extension to distribute NXT on USA Network and the successful staging of WrestleMania illustrate the enduring and increasing value of the WWE brand as the foundation for long-term growth.”

Kristina Salen, WWE Chief Financial Officer, added: “In the quarter, Adjusted OIBDA results were driven by the recognition of revenue from our Peacock agreement. Although Adjusted OIBDA increased in the quarter, we are not adjusting our previous full year Adjusted OIBDA guidance of $270 million to $305 million at this time, given the uncertainty regarding the timing and pace of return for ticketed audiences and our ability to stage international large-scale events due to Covid-19 restrictions.”

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