wrestling / News

Vince McMahon Claims TV Ratings & Live Events Down Due to Missing Stars, Says They’re Open To Third Hour for Smackdown, More

April 25, 2019 | Posted by Larry Csonka
WWE Raw Vince McMahon Drew McIntyre

– WWE released their 2019 Q1 financials today. Here are highlights from this morning’s investor’s conference call…

* The call started at 11:01AM with Michael White welcoming us to the call.

* Vince joins the call and says that WrestleMania was great business, but not in this quarter. They are broadening the scope of the product they produce, but had a situation with several talents out of action, which hurt live events and TV ratings. He claims they have made new stars that will help in the future. They have also hired new writers for the creative team and a new live events team. Starting later this year with the jump to Fox, they will begin a new day for the company.

* They continue to invest in new content, which will increase the value of the company. They reiterate that the missing stars hurt live events & TV ratings. The company is excited about the move to Fox in the fall.

* They predict that the WWE Network will hit 1.7 million subscribers in Q2.

* The A&E Biography deal and FS1 studio shows are hyped as added content and potential growth for the company. The most watched content on the WWE Network were PPVs, in-ring events and original series including NXT Takeover, Halftime Heat and WWE Chronicles.

* They had lower merchandise sales at live events due to lower live event attendance, attributed to the lack of stars out of action. They expect year over year growth through 2020. There are more international TV deals to come.

* The first question is on the financial drops following missing stars. Barrios claims that it was a unique time, and it hurt a lot of trends, but they have a 35-year trend of creating stars and creating stories to allow them to shine. Vince praises Ronda Rousey, saying she improved the whole women’s division. They plan to continue on with that, citing the rise of Becky Lynch. “Ronda did awesome.”

* Barrios does his usual “we won’t comment” on ongoing deals.

* Next they are asked about WWE Network subscribers, and Barrios again cites missing talent in numbers not being quite where they want them. They are excited about the expansion and growth of the WWE Network, which will be mainly seen in 2019. They declined to give a date for the relaunch but it will happen later this year.

* Next they are asked about cost growth and if things will smooth out with the new TV rights deals. Barrios says that it’s a rough start to the year, but in 2020, while it’s early to say, they expect positive things as they grow revenue.

* Next they discuss changes to live events to turn things around. Barrios admits things are soft, but says the Royal Rumble was a huge success. They are excited about the move to Fox, and feels Fox will deliver not only more homes, but added promotion for the company.

* They are asked about the NXT UK brand, and the new PC there. Triple H joins the call and he hypes the brand as one of the most watched Network shows. They could turn into a touring brand, with more live Takeovers to come. The social media exposure is massive for that brand and it gives them a new pipeline of talent.

* Next, they discuss missing talents and year-to-year changes in ratings. Barrios says they declined, but things vary. They are happy that they are still ahead of most in terms of viewership. They are open to a third hour of Smackdown.

* They again talk about the move to Fox, and how the presentation can change. They are also asked about a new Saudi event, but Barrios will give no specifics. They anticipate even more advertisers coming on board with the move to Fox. They will be part of both the NBCU & Fox upfronts.

* Barrios is asked about the Saudi events and how it will impact the future financials. He won’t give specifics, but feels their growth numbers will be accurate. He refuses to confirm a Saudi show for the year.

* Vince is asked about talent and the audience getting tired of some talent. Triple H says that they create stars, but there is no specific timing on building a star. He cites Kofi stepping up and coming to a new level. The developmental system is working for them and represents 80% of the roster right now.

* They are asked about the decline in live events, and ask if there is a bigger issue than missing talent. They feel it’s more about missing talent. There may have been larger “Macro factors” but they believe it was talent driven.

* Next, a caller asks about injuries and how long it takes for fans to react to their return. Barrios says it was a lot hitting all at one time, but it can take 6 to 9 moths to recover.

* The call ends at 11:45AM ET.

* You can read more about the WWE financials below:

* Revenue Down vs. Last Year Vince McMahon Comments.

* Key WrestleMania Highlights, Company Touts Attendance & Gate.

* WWE Network at 1.58 Million Subscribers.

* https://411mania.com/wrestling/wwe-q1-financials-wwe-hypes-performance-of-tv-wwe-network-properties/.

* WWE Live Event Revenue Decreases 15 Percent.

article topics :

Vince McMahon, WWE, Larry Csonka