You can check out some highlights from today’s WWE Q1 conference call below. During the call, Vince McMahon commented on COVID-19, the future of WWE live events, the WWE Network changes, and more. He also confirmed there would be no WWE video game this year. Here are some highlights:
– Michael Weitz welcomes us to the show, breaking down the basic numbers, already posted on the site.
– Vince joins the call and says they had a strong quarter, and COVID-19 didn’t hurt things, they adapted the business model, reduced costs and they will deliver compelling content. They feel their family friendly approach will benefit them during the pandemic. Since moving to the Performance Center, Smackdown is about even, but it is a challenging environment. They are planning more personality profiles and mini-movies going forward. While not in Q1, he does feel WrestleMania ended up a success for the company. They are prepared for the new normal, whatever that maybe going forward.
– Frank Riddick takes over to continue breaking down the numbers, while hyping expanded contend on ESPN & FS1, while also growing their digital footprint. They are still looking go change the Network with a potential partner, as previously discussed last year, but it has been delayed, due to COVID-19. The recent cuts were made to off set live event losses. They are still looking to expand business, but cannot address them due to the COVID-19 situation.
– Question time.
– They are asked about declining ratings without major competition and Vince says that it’s a different show, due to no crowd. He feels they are doing well, especially without a live crowd, but they need to keep figuring out ways to change up the shows. They are still figuring things out. Smackdown has been stable, while he feels Raw has suffered due to so many new faces on the show. Raw will bounce back.
– On the Saudi deal, they want another huge event, but the pandemic has halted the live events there. They hope for a fall event, but if not, they will add an event onto the back end of the contract and get paid. They are still working on the TV deal there.
– The India TV deal is still under the old terms. They are adding sponsorships, but there has been growth. The new India deal will take hold in Q2.
– They are working to do things that will strengthen their current position during the pandemic. It’s a balance of aligning the business with reducing costs while producing strong financials. They can cut back on some things for now.
– What will happen when Florida shuts down production? Vince says they have a number of options, many states would welcome them.
– They are hoping to transition to Full Sail with a crowd, whatever that will mean, but he feels they will be the first.
– The company feels the Network is more valuable than ever and they are still looking into the new deal as mentioned. Everything I son the table with the Network, including priced tiers. Vince says COVID-19 caught everyone with their pants down, which halted the potential deal.
– In terms of long-term product changes due to COVID-19, Vince says they may not be in the live event business due to this, but there is too much uncertainty. They are adaptable and will continue to market their content & digital programming. It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity. As far as their TV partners go, Vince says they want to do better just like them, but are ok with the current product, They have each other’s back.
– They feel that Q2 will be profitable, thanks to the TV deals and cost reductions. They refuse to give guidance on the full year, due to the COVID-19 situation and the uncertainty around it.
– Were the 2.1 million network sub number over Mania weekend paid? No, it included free subs; they declined to give the paid number.
– Vince feels that people are tired of Netflix and wanted to see, “strong men running around in their underwear.”
– He praises his performers for thriving in this environment, they are trying to deliver a great product.
– When asked how much money the new deals they have done internationally will bring in. Frank said we haven’t released that, & that they aren’t answering.
– Vince says they have holds on buildings, but couldn’t guess when live events could resume.
– They are questioned about the recent, aggressive actions in cuts. They are being cautious, due to COBID-19. Cash is king and they want to be conservative.
– On talent morale, Vince says that they are being careful in terms of providing a safe work environment. They work in small groups, sanitize the ring and also have the talent sequestered in hotels. Triple H says they work with a bio chemical company that uses a super strong cleaning solution that lasts 90 to 120 days. It super strong and stays behind even when things are cleaned by other cleaners. They are doing everything possible. Vince says the talent sees this as a challenge and has risen to the occasion. He’s proud of them.
– They hype their partnership with DAZN.
– Vince sounds like he’s smoked a carton of Lucky Strikes prior to this call. When asked about unemployment and how it will affect their fans. They don’t have that information. obviously. Vince added their fans are robust, and that they will consume the product any way that they can.
– On the WWE video game, there will be no new game this year.
That ended the call.
(h/t – 411 Wrestling)