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WWE RAW and SmackDown TV Deals Expiring

Vince McMahon USA NetworkWWE’s contracts with the USA Network which airs RAW, and Syfy which airs SmackDown, are expiring within a year – putting the corporation in a brilliant position to negotiate a better deal, which sits at around $140 million a year.

Though SmackDown expires in the spring and RAW expires next fall, talks are well underway with parent company NBC Universal.

Analyst Chris Bevilcqua told Forbes Sports Money that NBC could renew the partnership at four to six times more than the current deal, and that besides the NFL and NBA, in terms of pure numbers WWE is one of the most sought after brands in TV licensing. He even suggested they could top NASCAR’s recent deal of $4.5 billion over ten years!

Though they have significant leverage it doesn’t look like they’ll be leaving the NBC umbrella, and NBC also probably wouldn’t want to move the shows around since they are key ratings drivers for USA and Syfy.

Rights fees have been a growing area of WWE’s business, with the extra hour of RAW and the development of B shows like Main Event on Ion, and Saturday Morning Slam on the CW Network (which was not renewed for a second season). The company also licenses several international only shows and there have been murmurs that NXT which only airs in local markets and overseas may be getting a national deal soon. Jim Ross said “It’s in the works,” on Twitter earlier this year.

WWE announced their third quarter financial results today. Overall revenue was up 9% from this quarter last year, from $104.2 million to $113.3 million “driven by a significant increase in rights fees from the licensing of television content.”

“During the third quarter, our achievements were highlighted by the production and monetization of new content, including the original series, Total Divas, the expansion of pay-per-view distribution on the Sony PlayStation 3 platform, and the formation of new partnerships with blue-chip sponsors such as General Mills and Kraft,” stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

“These accomplishments reflect the strength of our brands, including a national television audience that exceeds the annual reach of most other sports and entertainment programs. This strength provides a solid foundation for the renegotiation of our TV contracts and the potential launch of a WWE network. Based on our ability to create powerful, entertaining content and to expand distribution, we strongly believe that we are poised to transform our business.”

WWE Third Quarter Financial Results: Revenue Up 9%

WWE(R) Reports 2013 Third Quarter Results
STAMFORD, Conn., Oct 31, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — WWE today announced financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2013. Revenues increased $9.1 million or 9%, to $113.3 million from $104.2 million in the prior year quarter driven by a significant increase in rights fees from the licensing of television content. Operating income decreased 36% to $3.2 million as compared to $5.0 million in the prior year quarter as revenue growth was more than offset by increased movie losses due to a $7.0 million impairment charge primarily associated with the Company’s 2010-2012 film release slate, and reduced profits from the Company’s pay-per-view, video game and home entertainment businesses. Net income was $2.4 million, or $0.03 per share, as compared to $3.5 million, or $0.05 per share, in the prior year quarter. Excluding the impact of film impairments, Adjusted Operating income increased 104% to $10.2 million, Adjusted OIBDA increased 62% to $16.7 million and Adjusted Net income increased 100% to $7.0 million.

“During the third quarter, our achievements were highlighted by the production and monetization of new content, including the original series, Total Divas, the expansion of pay-per-view distribution on the Sony PlayStation 3 platform, and the formation of new partnerships with blue-chip sponsors such as General Mills and Kraft,” stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “These accomplishments reflect the strength of our brands, including a national television audience that exceeds the annual reach of most other sports and entertainment programs. This strength provides a solid foundation for the renegotiation of our TV contracts and the potential launch of a WWE network. Based on our ability to create powerful, entertaining content and to expand distribution, we strongly believe that we are poised to transform our business.”

“Given the rising value of live content that has a broad, loyal following, we are confident that we will be able to negotiate our key domestic agreements by the end of April next year and that our efforts, including the potential launch of a WWE network, will keep us on track to double or triple our 2012 OIBDA results of $63 million by 2015,” added George Barrios, Chief Financial Officer. “As we strive to transform our earnings profile, we believe that our 2013 OIBDA results, excluding the impact of film impairments, will fall within the previously communicated range of $40-$50 million.”

Comparability of Results

For the third quarter of 2013, OIBDA results include $7.0 million in film impairment charges primarily related to the Company’s 2010-2012 film release slate. OIBDA results for the nine months ended September 30, 2013 include $11.7 million in film impairment charges and an approximate $3.4 million positive impact from the transition of the Company’s video game business to a new licensee in 2013. Results for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 included a $0.8 million film impairment charge and an approximate $4 million benefit due to the recognition of previously unrecognized tax benefits. In order to facilitate an analysis of financial results on a comparable basis, where noted, year-to-date results have been adjusted to exclude these items. (See Schedule of Adjustments in Supplemental Information).

Three Months Ended September 30, 2013 – Results by Region and Business Segment

Revenues of $113.3 million grew 9% versus the prior year quarter as the Company experienced growth both in North America and in international markets. North American revenues increased 9% from the prior year quarter driven by the production and licensing of new television programs. Revenues from outside North America increased 7% driven by the impact of scheduling seven additional events in international markets, and contractual increases in international television agreements, which more than offset lower sales of licensed consumer products. Revenue in the current year quarter was negatively impacted by approximately $1 million due to changes in foreign exchange rates.

Go to WWE Corporate for all the data.


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  • RBN

    Why doesn’t WWE already have their network? I have to scroll past “LOGO” and “OWN” on my guide list and I’m not sure how/why these 2 exist…

    • Keelan Balderson

      It’s alllll about da moneyyyyy

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