WWE today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2023.
“We are off to a strong start in 2023. Operationally, we continue to effectively execute our strategy, including staging the most successful WrestleMania of all time in early April. WrestleMania, as well as our other successful premium live events such as Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, and strong viewership for our weekly flagship programs, Raw and SmackDown, further expanded the reach of our brands and enhanced the value of our content,” said Nick Khan, WWE Chief Executive Officer.
“Strategically, we entered into a historic agreement with Endeavor to create a one-of-a-kind company. With WWE and UFC we intend to form a global sports and entertainment business that has the potential to unlock vast growth opportunities for both businesses. We believe that bringing these two iconic and highly complementary brands together will allow us to increasingly capitalize on the rapidly expanding, global appetite for live sports events and premium entertainment content, with the goal being to maximize value for our shareholders.”
Frank Riddick, WWE President & Chief Financial Officer, added “In the quarter, we exceeded the high end of our guidance. Adjusted OIBDA was $84 million on revenue of $298 million. Our financial performance was primarily driven by the contractual escalation of media rights fees for our flagship weekly programming and strong consumer demand for our live events. Our results in the quarter were also impacted by a shift in the timing of the staging of a large-scale international event.”
Revenue decreased 11%, or $35.8 million, to $297.6 million, primarily due to a shift in the timing of the staging of a large-scale international event, which occurred in the first quarter of 2022 but is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2023. This decrease was partially offset by an increase in revenue related to the contractual escalation of media rights fees for the Company’s flagship weekly programming, Raw and SmackDown, and higher North American ticket sales.
Operating Income decreased 43%, or $39.3 million, to $53.1 million, reflecting the decrease in revenue and relatively flat operating expenses. Operating expenses primarily reflected a decrease in production costs related to the timing of the Company’s premium live events essentially offset by the impact of certain costs related to the Company’s strategic alternatives review and recently announced agreement with Endeavor. The Company’s operating income margin decreased to 18% from 28%.
The full press release can be read at corporate.wwe.com.