Stephanie McMahon called Q3 ’17, the WWE’s “all-time best quarter”, as the company grew revenue 14% to $186.4 million, set a company quarterly record for Adjusted OIBDA ($40.4 million) and saw net income rise to $21.8 million (from $11.1 million YOY). The growth is being attributed to an increase in TV rights fees, a rise in WWE network subscriptions (4.4% to 1.52 million subscribers) and the proliferation of live events. As a result, WWE Chief Strategy and Financial Officer George Barrios said the company has increased 2017 guidance; calling for “record revenue, record Adjusted OIBDA results and record subscriber levels.”
Howie Long-Short: 2018 projects to be a banner year for the WWE, with the company anticipating setting another record for revenue generation and targeting Adjusted OIBDA of at least $115 million; which would also set a record. Those records may not last long, though. The company’s television broadcast deal with NBC expires September 30, 2019 and broadcast deals in U.K. and India (2nd and 3rd largest broadcast deals revenue-wise) expire on December 31, 2019. I expect the total value of broadcast rights to increase and for 2020 to be another record setting year for the WWE.
Fan Marino: While the financial picture is pretty, there is speculation that the WWE could be facing a mass-exodus of talent (despite Lesnar staying and Rousey joining); with wrestlers who feel underutilized or underpaid, looking to leave the company. While once the only game in town, Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and a booming independent circuit now provide viable alternatives. The success Cody Rhodes, Ryback and Alberto Del Rio have found outside the organization has forced guys (and girls) to evaluate their options; and apparently, at least for some, those options more lucrative on the other side.
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