WWE reports record revenues in 2022, predicts more of the same this year

Nick Khan

Leading wrestling franchise WWE has reported Q4 2002 revenues of $325.3m, up 5% year on year. For the full year, revenue was up 18% to $1.3bn, the highest in WWE’s history. Nick Khan, WWE CEO, called 2022 a “strong year for WWE. We generated record results and our business continued to perform well due to the strength of our content and brand, which drove engagement and monetisation across platforms.”

WWE said the 5% rise in revenue during Q4 2002 was “primarily due to an increase in network revenues related to the timing of premium live events as well as higher monetisation of third-party original programming. These increases were partially offset by a decline in consumer products licensing and ecommerce revenue.”

Khan said: “In 2023, we’re focused on continuing to execute on our key operational initiatives, such as the domestic (US) licensing of our flagship programmes, Raw and SmackDown, as well as the international licensing of our content in key markets. At the same time, we’re focused on a review of strategic alternatives.”

Among ex-US highlights, WWE said Crown Jewel was the most viewed international event in WWE’s history. It also noted the multi-year extension of its partnership with MultiChoice to expand the distribution of WWE content in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Frank Riddick, WWE president & chief financial officer, said the company benefited from “contractual escalation of rights fees for our programming and live events.”

Looking ahead, he expects WWE to generate an all-time record for revenue in 2023. This anticipated performance reflects an expected increase in media rights fees for the company’s flagship weekly programming and premium live events, as well as a full live events touring schedule, including two large-scale international events, and an increase in advertising and sponsorship revenues. “In 2023, we anticipate adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) of $395 to $410 million, reflecting continued revenue growth and relatively flat operating expenses.”

In 2023, key initiatives that could have meaningful implications on WWE’s performance include the renewal of the domestic licensing agreement for NXT, the renewal of licensing agreements for WWE content in certain international markets, the monetisation of new third-party original programming, growth in advertising and sponsorship sales, and the performance of video game WWE 2K23.

Currently WWE’s TV-PG (parental guidance) programming can be seen in more than 1 billion homes worldwide in 25 languages through partnerships with the likes of NBCUniversal, FOX Sports, BT Sport, Sony India and Rogers. Meanwhile, the WWE Network is currently available in more than 180 countries. In the US, NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock is the exclusive home to WWE Network.

Tags: WWE, WWE Network

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