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Jim Cornette claims NXT loses a lot of money

Scott Dawson on Twitter

With a lot of attention being paid to the dollars and cents of WWE these days thanks to rumors Vince McMahon might be willing or even looking to sell the publicly traded company in which his family maintains a controlling interest, comments from a veteran of the business about one product line being a big money loser are going to get some press.

And that’s exactly what’s happened when former Smokey Moutain Wrestling (SMW) and Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) owner and booker Jim Cornette discussed NXT on his The Jim Cornette Experience podcast. During one of his stints with OVW in the early aughts, the Kentucky-based promotion also served as WWE’s Developmental program, so Cornette is doubly qualified to speak on running a farm system fed for The ‘E.

Question is, how good are Corny’s numbers? More on that in second. Here’s what he said:

“NXT in 2016 sold $7 million in tickets and had $20 million in expenses. In 2017, NXT had let’s say $6 million in ticket sales and $25 million in expenses... In all honesty, 2016 they lost $13 million, 2017 they lost $19 million and that’s not a ton of money for that whole company and organization up there. But can you imagine what me and [OVW founder and former owner] Danny Davis could’ve done with Ohio Valley Wrestling if they said, ‘OK guys, you can bring in anybody that you want that’s not on the main roster or signed to New Japan and you can lose $32 million over the next two years.’ Holy ****!

I understand they’re making the investment in training the future superstars and they have to, they’ve figured out that they have to because they’re not getting them from anywhere else. So they have to train their own, but my God!”

A look at WWE’s 2016 annual report does support his gate figures for that year. But that’s it - ticket sales. It doesn’t appear to account for merchandise, Network subscriptions (if you can even determine how much of that is attributable to the 60+ hours of new content NXT contributes to the streaming service each year), ad revenue from the web, etc.

Expenses are harder to pin down, especially since contracter salaries aren’t publicly shared. It’s unclear when and how much of compensation shifts to the main roster brands at call up. There’s also sunk and ongoing costs associated with The Performance Center which Davis and Cornette didn’t have impacting their bottom line.

Which isn’t to dismiss his comments out of hand. As mentioned above, if anyone on earth is qualified to speak on this, it’s The Louisville Slugger. But without citing sources, and with the usual plug for his own business acumen, it’s hard to not take these numbers with a grain of salt.

Let us know what you make of them below, Cagesiders.

H/T: Wrestling Inc for transcription

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