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WWE touts increased revenue, Clash at the Castle success in Q3 earnings report

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WWE normally released their quarterly financial reports on Thursdays. But with a premium live event this weekend in Saudi Arabia and much of the company either traveling for or focused on that, this year’s third quarter 2022 numbers and related activities are happening today (Weds., Nov. 2).

Another international show — September’s Clash at the Castle in Cardiff, Wales — was a particular point of emphasis in the the earnings report issues after the stock market closed here in the United States. As was the case in Q2, WWE trumpets the streaming success of all their PLEs from July 1 - Sept. 30, which also puts over their domestic partners at Peacock.

WWE® Reports Third Quarter 2022 Results

Third Quarter 2022 Highlights

• Revenue was $304.6 million, an increase of 19%; Operating Income was $58.9 million, a decrease of 8%; and Adjusted OIBDA1 was $91.2 million, an increase of 17%

• Returned $9.1 million of capital to shareholders through dividends paid

• Clash at the Castle, the first major WWE stadium event in the UK in over 30 years, was held at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Clash at the Castle was the most viewed international event in WWE’s history

• Each WWE domestic premium live event (Money in the Bank, SummerSlam and Extreme Rules) was the most viewed event in its history with year-over-year increases of 17%, 20% and 36%, respectively, in domestic unique viewership on Peacock

• WWE announced a multi-year agreement with its long-standing partner, the Foxtel Group, to expand the distribution of the Company’s content in Australia • WWE announced the creation of NXT Europe, which is planned to launch in 2023, to expand the NXT brand internationally

• In October, WWE announced its “Campus Rush” recruitment tour to further enhance the Company’s talent development program

2022 Business Outlook

In February, the Company issued Adjusted OIBDA guidance of $360 - $375 million for the full year 2022. In August, the Company raised its guidance to $370 - $385 million. Based on performance through the first nine months of the year as well management’s current expectations for the fourth quarter, the Company now expects full year 2022 Adjusted OIBDA to be at the upper-end of the range of $370 - $385 million.

STAMFORD, Conn., November 2, 2022 - WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2022.

“We generated strong financial results in the quarter, highlighted by record revenue and Adjusted OIBDA for a third quarter, and remain firmly on track to deliver record revenue and Adjusted OIBDA for the full year” said Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan, WWE co-Chief Executive Officers. “We continue to effectively execute our strategy, including staging a record-setting international stadium event, Clash at the Castle, in early September. Clash at the Castle, as well as our other premium live events (“PLEs”) including SummerSlam and Extreme Rules all continue our streak of delivering record viewership for each respective event. These PLEs, along with strong ratings for our flagship programs, Raw and SmackDown, continue to expand the reach of our brands and enhance the value of our content across various platforms, both domestically and abroad.”

Frank Riddick, WWE President & Chief Financial Officer, added “In the quarter, we exceeded our guidance. Adjusted OIBDA increased 17% reflecting 19% revenue growth over the prior year. Our financial performance was primarily driven by growth in our Media segment as well as a shift in the timing of revenue related to certain licensing agreements. These items more than offset an increase in certain costs to support the creation of content. For 2022, we now anticipate Adjusted OIBDA at the upper-end of the range of $370 to $385 million.”

The full report is here. For detailed analysis of the numbers, you can’t do any better than Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics. He’s currently live tweeting insights from the report and the planned 5pm ET investor call, and will have much more on their free and pay sites later.

From the perspective of a wrestling fan with just enough business knowledge to be a danger to his own savings account, my main takeaway continues to be how amazingly well WWE weathered the storm of Vince McMahon’s hush money scandal and subsequent resignation from day-to-day operations. The company hasn’t missed a beat (and has improved in several areas), which is if nothing else a huge public relations success story.

The earnings report indicates the company’s investigation into McMahon’s alleged misconduct is now complete:

Special Committee Investigation

As previously announced, a Special Committee of independent members of the Board of Directors was formed to investigate alleged misconduct by Vincent K. McMahon, the Company’s former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, who resigned from all positions held with the Company on July 22, 2022 but remains a stockholder with a controlling interest, and another executive, who is also no longer with the Company. The Special Committee investigation is now complete and the Special Committee has been disbanded. Management is working with the Board to implement the recommendations of the Special Committee related to the investigation. For the three and nine-month periods ended September 30, 2022, the Company’s consolidated pre-tax results include the impact of $17.7 million and $19.4 million, respectively, associated with certain costs related to the investigation. Please see the Company’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, its annual report on Form 10-K/A and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q/A and Form 10-Q for further details and ongoing risks regarding this matter.

Let us know what you think of the numbers, and we’ll be back to share anything of interest from the investor call later.

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