Yesterday, WWE held their quarterly investor call to discuss the state of the company with their shareholders, the first time WWE CEO Vince McMahon has publicly spoken about these matters since the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has largely derailed their live business. In the corporate documents released alongside the call, not only is it revealed that Q1 revenues increased by 60 percent compared to Q1 2019 ($291 million compared to $182.4 million this time last year), but that McMahon himself says COVID has not hurt the company’s bottom line:
“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.”
The biggest reason behind that number jumping up more than $100 million since last year is due to the recent TV contracts with USA and FOX, as well as WWE’s continued live-events partnership with Saudi Arabia.
Remember that in the wake of being declared an “essential business” by the state of Florida, WWE then laid off or furloughed a countless number of contracted wrestlers as well as corporate employees as an empty-gesture cost-cutting measure to appease stockholders in time for this Q1 financials call. Those roster cuts are reportedly saving WWE between $700,000 and $4 million a month, or anywhere between 0.24 and 1.37 percent of WWE’s Q1 total net revenues.
It’s also worth noting that this year’s WrestleMania, typically a big revenue generator for WWE, took place April 4-5, a week after WWE’s first quarter closed, so we won’t officially know how the loss of WrestleMania week income affected WWE’s bottom line for another three months. And given that COVID-19 might still be impacting America next year, WWE has already begun the process of looking at alternate locations for next year’s WrestleMania. Expect these numbers to look a little bit different one year from now — Vince might need to be splashed with cold water again.