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Sting WWE Update, WWE Financial Losses, Major Staff Cuts, Network Goes International, Ricardo Released

Paul Heyman and JR Discuss Sting In WWE

Both Paul Heyman and JR recently gave comments about Sting’s WWE status. Talking with Digital Spy Heyman said:

I think Sting would be denying his fans a great moment if Sting did not step into WWE competition at least once. I have always been a huge admirer of what Sting brings to the table and his relationship with his audience, and I would be dramatically disappointed if Sting does not wrestle a WWE match.

JR who recently interviewed him on the Ross Report, discussed what Sting’s current deal (or lack of deal) means:

Just because he showed up at Comic Con doesn’t mean he has a contract with WWE. He’s got a contract with Mattel from what I understand. He has a contract with 2K. He has some sort of agreement with WWE to basically sell T-shirts, like a licensing/marketing deal. It’s not a traditional legends deal.

If you’re going to have Sting wrestle, book it right. If I was there I can book it in 30 minutes easy. He wrestles once. And if he wrestles once and he says “win lose or draw I’m done”. That match is at Wrestlemania because it takes everything full circle. He’s said he wants to wrestle one Wrestlemania before calling it quits. He doesn’t need to win the Royal Runble. He doesn’t need to come on Raw every Monday. That’s stupid. He could make them a lot of money. I believe that the guy has paid his dues and deserves his Wrestlemania moment.

WWE Financial Results and Network Subscriber Count

The big news today is WWE posting their Second Quarter financial results. The company reported a Net loss of $14.5 million, or $0.19 per share, compared to Net income of $5.2 million, or $0.07 per share, in the second quarter last year.

Most interesting was the latest WWE Network subscriber count number, which is just 700,000 subscribers, still nowhere near their 1 million goal and barely up from April’s 667,000 number.

Network Going International Sooner Than Thought

In response to these numbers WWE are launching the Network internationally as fast as possible.

The Company plans to make the U.S. version of WWE Network available on an over-the-top basis starting August 12th in over 170 countries and territories, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Spain and the Nordics, among others. The network is expected to be live in the U.K. by October 2014. Plans for the network in Italy, UAE, Germany, Japan, India, China, Thailand and Malaysia will be communicated at a later date.

In Canada the WWE Network is going live next month as a traditional pay TV channel …

Rogers will be the exclusive distribution partner of all WWE pay-per-view events throughout Canada and will sponsor an application to the CRTC to bring the popular WWE Network to Canada. Starting August 12, a preview of WWE Network content, including live WWE pay-per-view events, groundbreaking original series, live in-ring action, reality shows and a video-on-demand library, will be available on a subscription basis on Rogers Channel 512. Rogers will offer this WWE Network content preview subscription to all cable, satellite and IPTV providers across Canada.

Fans in Canada will receive more WWE programming than ever before through Rogers’ cable and digital assets. Highlights from the new deal also include national rights for Raw®, SmackDown® and Main Event® on Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet NOW and Rogers Anyplace TV.

“This landmark deal is a win-win for WWE fans in Canada,” said Scott Moore, President of NHL & Sportsnet, Rogers. “The premium WWE content offers our customers more of the programming they want, on any platform of their choosing. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with WWE, and deliver exclusive content to its passionate fan base in Canada for the next decade.”

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Rogers as we look for innovative ways to grow our brand and further the reach of our programming in Canada through their vast distribution channels and marketing platforms,” said Gerrit Meier, WWE Executive Vice President, International. “The structure of this new agreement demonstrates WWE’s commitment to growing our brand internationally through integrated partnerships as well as the flexibility we have in rolling out WWE Network around the world.”

The WWE Network has also introduced some new payment options including:

– A $19.99/month subscription that requires no commitment.
– One upfront one-time payment option for $9.99/month for six months.

Currently subscribers are billed $9.99 per month but have to commit to 6 months, unless they cancel directly through Paypal or their card provider, which is frowned upon.

7% of WWE Staff Released

As part of the ongoing cost cutting measures WWE are letting go of 7% of their corporate staff!

George Barrios, Chief Strategy & Financial Officer for WWE, told investors:

“We identified efficiencies across WWE, which include a 7% reduction in staff, and improved our 2015 OIBDA outlook by $30 million.”

Ricardo Rodriguez Quits

Ricardo Rodriguez recently requested his release and was granted it today. He reportedly wanted more ring action than he was being given.

WWE has come to terms on the release of WWE Superstar Ricardo Rodriguez as of today, July 30, 2014. WWE wishes Ricardo Rodriguez the best in all of his future endeavors.

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