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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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WWE Reports Viewership Up, Earnings Down Amid UFC Merger

  • WWE's Q1 net revenue of $297.6M was an 11% year-over-year decrease.
  • But its premium events and weekly shows all saw viewership increases.
Roman Reigns lifts WWE championship belts during Wrestlemania.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of its merger with UFC, World Wrestling Entertainment reported a down first quarter — but still managed to exceed Wall Street’s expectations.

WWE reported net revenue of $297.6 million and operating income of $53.1 million for the first quarter of 2023 — an 11% and 43% decrease year-over-year, respectively.

The company primarily chalks up the drop to moving one of its large-scale international pay-per-views.

WWE staged “Elimination Chamber” in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in February 2022, but isn’t returning there until May for “Night of Champions.” The company put on “Crown Jewel” in nearby Riyadh in November.

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The company just barely outperformed Wall Street’s expectations for the quarter: Its net income came out to 43 cents per share, while the average analyst estimate was 42 cents per share, according to a survey from Zacks Investment Research.

Still, there’s plenty of optimism at WWE.

  • The 2023 editions of premium live events “Royal Rumble” and “Elimination Chamber” saw respective 52% and 54% year-over-year domestic viewership increases.
  • Weekly programs “Raw” and “SmackDown” both increased viewership 7% year-over-year.

WWE’s recent acquisition by Endeavor will see it combine with UFC into one publicly traded company under the stock ticker symbol TKO.

The combined WWE-UFC entity could create a media rights juggernaut when WWE’s deals with NBC Universal and Fox expire next year and UFC’s deal with ESPN expires in 2026.

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