Wrestling WWE

WWE report strong Q1 financial results but RAW TV ratings continue to drop

WWE have released their full First-Quarter 2020 financials, which revealed positive results ahead of a likely turbulent Q2 period.

The company’s revenues have increased an incredible 60%, up to $291 million, compared to their Q1 results a year prior. WWE’s operating income also jumped from a $6.8 million loss in Q1 2019, to a $53.3 million profit.

These large financial increases are mostly due to the companies increase in TV rights fees, with Fox’s new TV deal for WWE SmackDown reportedly worth $2.35 billion.

Following the release of the report, WWE’s stock price increased from $39.02 to $45.76. This shows improvement for the company whose stock price has plummeted in the last year.

The report did highlight some long-running concerns though. WWE continue to lose money on live events, making a loss of $3.2 million compared to $200,000 in Q1 2019.

The company also noted the impact that the COVID-19 global pandemic will have and the actions that have been taken so far, including the suspension of works on the company’s new headquarters and reducing employee headcount through releases and furloughs.

Speaking on COVID-19, WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon said “Our first quarter financial performance was strong and largely unimpacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Now we are in the midst of unprecedented times, which require us to be especially nimble, creative and efficient in order to ensure the long-term value of WWE.

“We are taking precautions to protect the health and safety of our performers and staff as we produce content in new ways, engage fans with a much-needed diversion and operate effectively in this evolving environment”.

Average paid subscriptions for the WWE Network have also fallen in this time, with the hashtag #CancelWWENetwork trending throughout the year. However, digital video views across all platforms have increased by 25% to 9.6 billion.

WWE’s flagship show RAW continues to decline in ratings, with the shows viewership falling 16% compared to the cable TV average of 5%.

Due to COVID-19, the show is now filmed at the WWE performance centre in front of an empty arena. However, McMahon does not feel this is to blame for the decline.

“In terms of the why, it goes back to the product itself. RAW has suffered but not necessarily because of the environment” McMahon stated.

“It’s suffered because we bring in a lot of new talent into RAW and it takes a while to get these new talents over. We no longer have Brock Lesnar, obviously, but we have a new champion and a lot of new performers coming in, so it takes a while.

“With new talent it’s going to take a little while, I’m convinced that RAW’s ratings will bounce back considerably”.

Brock Lesnar lost the WWE title to the first ever British champion Drew McIntyre, at WrestleMania 36 two weeks ago.

Lesnar, who according to Forbes earned twice as much as any other superstar in the company in 2019 ($10 million), has not made an appearance on TV since the loss.

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