WWE
WWE taping post-WrestleMania episode of RAW

WWE Reports Strong First Quarter 2021 Earnings

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Media

First-Quarter 2021

Revenue was $242.0 million, a decrease of 6% or $14.6 million, primarily driven by the absence of the Company’s large-scale international event as reflected in Other media revenue. The decline in media revenue was partially offset by an increase in network revenue, driven by the upfront revenue recognition related to the delivery of certain WWE Network intellectual property rights, and, to a lesser extent, content license fees associated with the delivery of new WWE Network content as well as the contractual escalation of domestic core content rights fees for the Company’s flagship programs, Raw and SmackDown.

Operating income was $97.1 million, an increase of 9% or $7.8 million, primarily due to changes in product mix as increased network and core content rights fees revenue had higher incremental margins than that of the lost revenue associated with the Company’s large-scale international event.


Adjusted OIBDA was $106.6 million, representing an increase of 4% or $4.0 million.


Live Events

First-Quarter 2021

Revenue was $0.5 million, a decrease of 97% or $17.0 million, driven by a decline in ticket sales primarily due to the absence of live events in North America, where 41 events were held in the first quarter 2020.


Operating income reflected a loss of $4.5 million, representing an increased loss of 41% or $1.3 million, due to the impact of cancelled events (as described above).


Adjusted OIBDA reflected a loss of $4.3 million, representing an increased loss of 65% or $1.7 million.

Consumer Products

First-Quarter 2021

Revenue was $21.0 million, an increase of 24% or $4.1 million, reflecting increased eCommerce merchandise sales and higher video game royalties. Increased eCommerce sales more than offset the absence of venue merchandise sales resulting from the absence of ticketed events in the quarter (as described above).

Operating income was $6.2 million, an increase of 114% or $3.3 million, reflecting an increase in revenue (as described above).


Adjusted OIBDA was $6.7 million, representing an increase of 76% or $2.9 million.

Business Outlook5

In January, the Company issued guidance for 2021 Adjusted OIBDA. As previously discussed, the Company estimated it can achieve 2021 Adjusted OIBDA of $270 – $305 million as revenue growth, driven by the impact of the Peacock transaction, the gradual ramp-up of ticketed live events, including large-scale international events, and the contractual escalation of core content rights fees, is offset by the increase in personnel and television production expenses. The Company is not changing full year guidance at this time. While first quarter 2021 results were up on a year-over-year basis, they were largely driven by the impact of the WWE Network-Peacock licensing agreement, including the upfront revenue recognition related to the delivery of certain WWE Network intellectual property rights, and therefore should not extend into future quarters. Additionally, the guidance range remains highly dependent upon the Company’s ability to stage live events, including large-scale international events.


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