Following the release of WWE’s first-quarter earnings report, the company held its investor’s call led by Vince McMahon and interim chief financial officer Frank A. Riddick.
Click here to listen to audio of the WWE Q1 2020 Earnings Call
Vince McMahon was hesitant to commit when the company would be able to return to live events repeating that he didn’t have a crystal ball. He continually questioned what a live event would entail in the coming months and potential changes that will occur following the restrictions on live events.
When asked about their relationships with their broadcast partners and the possibility of the current programming not meeting the requirements of the deals, McMahon indicated his partners were happy with the content and both sides had each other’s back. He noted that the broadcasters have been hit during this pandemic just as they have.
On television viewership, McMahon acknowledged Raw’s drop during the first quarter while Friday Night SmackDown had maintained its audience. He cited that different feel these shows have and the need to mix things up on the shows to get away from the empty arena environment every now and then indicating more mini-movies and personality profiles will be seen. McMahon added that Raw doesn’t have Brock Lesnar (in the first quarter, his schedule was the same it’s always been and has never been a weekly character but appeared many times), and the new talent “will take a little while” with the expectation that Raw’s audience will be back up.
They confirmed there would not be a new 2K video game release later this year and comes months after terrible reviews following the 2K20 release last fall.
Paul Levesque spoke to the safety measures at the WWE Performance Center and Full Sail University noting they are working with a group called Allied BioScience that has a product that cleans surfaces and leaves a coating that lasts from 90-120 days to prevent the spread of bacteria and has used it throughout their working facilities. McMahon added they are taking temperatures, having forms filled out weekly, and changing the ropes and turnbuckles between matches.
Regarding the second event for Saudi Arabia in 2020, McMahon said it may not happen due to public gathering restrictions but the show would then be tacked onto the backend of the deal and there would be no financial loss in the big picture for WWE.
McMahon said they were close to a deal for content on the WWE Network, which he said was very close on the last earnings call, but cited the pandemic slowing things but there were multiple parties interested.
He categorized WrestleMania as “off the chart” and called it a huge success for them with their two-day experiment for the show on the WWE Network along with pay-per-view components in place.
We will have a full rundown of the earnings report and the investor’s call on a special Friday edition of the Café Hangout at Noon Eastern for members of the POST Wrestling Café.