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WWE Q1 “off to a strong start”

May 4, 2023

By Nik Roseveare

WWE has reported that Q1 2023 revenue decreased 11 per cent to $297.6 million (€269.3m), attributed primarily to a shift in the timing of the staging of a large-scale international event, which occurred in Q1 2022 but is next scheduled to occur in the Q2 2023

WWE premium live events in the quarter (Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber) set domestic unique viewership records with year-over-year increases of 52 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively.

Viewership for WWE’s weekly flagship programmes, Raw and SmackDown, both increased 7 per cent, significantly outperforming overall cable and broadcast television, which declined 15 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively

WrestleMania 39 was held at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles over two consecutive nights on April 1st and 2nd in front of a combined 161,892 fans and generating a gate of $21.6 million. WrestleMania was WWE’s highest-grossing and most-attended event in company history.

WWE and Endeavor Transaction Highlights

As previously announced, WWE and Endeavor have signed an agreement to combine WWE and UFC to form a new, publicly listed company. Upon close, Endeavor will hold a 51 per cent controlling interest and existing WWE shareholders will hold a 49 per cent interest in the new company. The transaction values UFC at an enterprise value of $12.1 billion and WWE at an enterprise value of $9.3 billion.

Following the closing, the new public company, in which WWE shareholders will initially hold 100% of the economic interest, is expected to issue a post-closing dividend consisting of excess cash at WWE. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2023.

2023 Business Outlook

WWE has reaffirmed its expectations for 2023, which target record revenue and an Adjusted OIBDA range of $395 to $410 million, which would be an all-time company record.

“We are off to a strong start in 2023. Operationally, we continue to effectively execute our strategy, including staging the most successful WrestleMania of all time in early April. WrestleMania, as well as our other successful premium live events such as Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, and strong viewership for our weekly flagship programmes, Raw and SmackDown, further expanded the reach of our brands and enhanced the value of our content,” commented Nick Khan, WWE Chief Executive Officer. “Strategically, we entered into a historic agreement with Endeavor to create a one-of-a-kind company. With WWE and UFC we intend to form a global sports and entertainment business that has the potential to unlock vast growth opportunities for both businesses. We believe that bringing these two iconic and highly complementary brands together will allow us to increasingly capitalise on the rapidly expanding, global appetite for live sports events and premium entertainment content, with the goal being to maximise value for our shareholders.”

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