WWE have released their financial results for the year 2020.
In a year with upheaval like no other, WWE still managed to report revenues higher than any other year in their history.
This increase was driven largely by their huge increases in broadcast licensing fees, primarily from the move of SmackDown to Fox. The figures would likely have been significantly more impressive were it not for COVID-19 which forced WWE to cease live events, effectively cancel WrestleMania weekend and put their incredibly lucrative Saudi Arabian shows on ice for the year.
With full year revenues of $974.2 million, WWE achieved 1% growth on 2019, bucking the worldwide trend and finding themselves in that small group of companies that have seen their revenues increase during the global pandemic.
Critics will of course point to the talent releases and staff cuts made by WWE in April in the midst of the pandemic as unnecessary given these huge revenues, we must never lose sight of the fact that as emotionally invested as us wrestling fans are in the company, they are a public company first and foremost and are required to operate as such.
Speaking on the results, Kristina Salen, WWE Chief Financial Officer said:
“For the year, we achieved record revenue and Adjusted OIBDA, which was at the high end of our rescinded guidance. Adjusted OIBDA increased nearly 60% reflecting the full year impact of our new content distribution agreements in the U.S. and comprehensive efforts to contain costs in challenging times. In 2021, we anticipate Adjusted OIBDA of $270 million to $305 million, reflecting the increasing monetization of our content tempered by the ongoing impact of COVID-19.”
In his role as WWE Chairman and CEO, Vince McMahon went on to comment on meeting the challenges of trying to operate as close to ‘business as usual’ as possible during the pandemic and WWE’s big move for 2021 of moving the WWE Network in the USA to the Peacock streaming service:
“During the fourth quarter, we continued to produce live content in new ways, which successfully increased audience interaction and engagement. As we continued to adapt our business to the changing media environment, we completed an important agreement to license WWE Network content to Peacock, which we expect will expand the reach of our brands and enhance the value of our content.”
The full link to WWE’s corporate posting on the results can be read here.