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WWE investor call notes: International expansion, longterm creative, potential mergers & acquisitions

Following the release of WWE’s Q3 earnings report on Nov. 2, Co-CEOs Nick Khan & Stephanie McMahon, Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque & Chief Financial Officer & Chief Administrative Officer Frank Riddick spoke on a conference call with investors.

In addition to the numbers in the report and an update on the company’s deal with Hulu, there were many other noteworthy comments and statements from the leadership team:

• Both McMahon and Levesque spoke about the success of “The White Rabbit Project” leading up to Bray Wyatt’s return. Social media engagement and increased audiences for SmackDown and Extreme Rules were mentioned, as well as increased merchandise sales (Wyatt’s shirt became the top seller on the entire Fanatics platform after Extreme Rules). Triple H again said the company will be doing similar angles in the future.

• Five ways the company can grow in the future, according to Stephanie: Media rights, international Performance Centers & “local globalization”, monetization of IP, digital & Web3, and mergers & acquisitions that align with core competencies. The last one is interesting in light of WWE’s soaring stock price, which is driven by speculation the company could be for sale after Vince McMahon’s resignation earlier this year.

• When queried about M&A later, McMahon said they’re looking at smaller opportunities in the short-term, “and in the long-term who knows what the future might hold”.

• Khan said Royal Rumble 2023 in San Antonio currently has a grossed a gate in excess of $4.6 million, and that they’ve already sold 100K tickets for the two-night WrestleMania 39.

• He also noted that WWE’s new distribution deals in Australia, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa included increased rights fees for the company. Khan also mentioned several recent live sports contracts like Amazon & the NFL and FOX & NBC with the Big 12 as evidence of why he’s bullish on WWE’s prospects when Raw and SmackDown’s deals are up in 2024.

• Levesque talked about the new emphasis on longterm storytelling. He said they’re already thinking beyond WrestleMania next year. The Game also mentioned how their recent success has been without major stars like Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Randy Orton & Cody Rhodes — all of whom will help move the needle when they return.

• Khan said WWE is close to closing a deal with another city to host a PLE. This sounded like something akin to Clash at the Castle, where they were paid site fees by Cardiff, Wales.

• Regarding NXT Europe, Haitch said it will be similar to U.S. developmental as a hub for younger athletes to train and hone their craft with the goal of making the main roster. He also said it’s difficult to recruit and train Indian prospects from the States, but it will be easier for them to do so in Europe. That could potentially help them further penetrate a huge market in India.

• WWE will soon be doing a recruiting event in Nigeria, per Khan. This was planned for 2020 before it was cancelled by COVID. He said there will be “content creation around the WWE talent search in Africa,” so this could potentially be either a region-specific or global show.

• Triple H also spoke to their evaluation process for new recruits, saying there’s a cut off period after six months, then another evaluation four to six months after that which thins out the crowd.

What jumps out at you, Cagesiders?

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