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WWE CEO, Nick Khan, says that the company is off to a strong start after a successful Q1 in 2023.
WWE released the company Q1 2023 earnings report on Tuesday and cited strong viewership figures for Raw and Smackdown against cable television trends and record PLE viewership as reasons for the successful start to the year.
“We are off to a strong start in 2023,” Khan said in a WWE press release. “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.
“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.”
WWE noted key highlights regarding Q1 of 2023.
- Revenue was $297.6 million; Operating income was $53.1 million; and Adjusted OIBDA1 was $84.2 million
- Returned $8.9 million of capital to shareholders through dividend payments
- Each WWE premium live event (Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber) set domestic unique viewership records with year-over-year increases of 52% and 54%, respectively
- Viewership for WWE’s weekly flagship programs, Raw and SmackDown, both increased 7%, significantly outperforming overall cable and broadcast television, which declined 15% and 6%, respectively
- North American Live Events ticket sales revenue increased 52% over the prior year period, reflecting a 37% increase in average attendance
- In April, WWE announced an expansion of its partnership with Fanatics, with Fanatics assuming management of WWE’s on-site event merchandise business as of May 1, 2023