WWE has issued the results of their first quarter 2023 earnings that have seen the company’s revenue decrease year-on-year.
WWE issued the earnings report on their corporate site and they tout the highlights of the quarter as the following:
- Revenue was $297.6 million; Operating income was $53.1 million; and Adjusted OIBDA1 was $84.2 million
- Returned $8.9 million of capital to shareholders through dividend payments
- Each WWE premium live event (Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber) set domestic unique viewership records with year-over-year increases of 52% and 54%, respectively
- Viewership for WWE’s weekly flagship programs, Raw and SmackDown, both increased 7%, significantly outperforming overall cable and broadcast television, which declined 15% and 6%, respectively
- North American Live Events ticket sales revenue increased 52% over the prior year period, reflecting a 37% increase in average attendance
- In April, WWE announced an expansion of its partnership with Fanatics, with Fanatics assuming management of WWE’s on-site event merchandise business as of May 1, 2023
While the revenue for the quarter remains massive it actually shows an 11% decrease from the first quarter of 2022. The $35.8 million difference is put down mainly to a shift in the calendar of the company’s Saudi Arabia show. In 2022, Elimination Chamber was held in February in the Kingdom whereas, in 2023, the first Saudi show of the year takes place in May and will show in second quarter financials.
WWE CEO Nick Khan touted the company’s strong start to the year and mentioned the impending takeover by Endeavor that will change the face of WWE forever:
“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 programs, Raw and SmackDown, further expanded the reach of our brands and enhanced the value of our content.
“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 capitalize on the rapidly expanding, global appetite for live sports events and premium entertainment content, with the goal being to maximize value for our shareholders.”