WWE shares have now dropped more than 13% on Thursday, following a Q1 earnings call where the promotion revealed declines in several categories, including event attendance, ticket sales, and paid network subscriptions.
As a result, the WWE reported a much bigger revenue decline than analysts had forecast, according to reports.
“While engagement metrics over the past two quarters were impacted by Superstar absences, we believe they will improve as our talent return and we launch our new season following a successful WrestleMania,” said Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. “We remain excited about the future, particularly with our debut on Fox in October.”
TV ratings for Raw and SmackDown reportedly declined approximately 14% and 13%, respectively, while average attendance at live events in North America declined 11%.
According to Investor’s Business Daily:
Loss of 12 cents a share on revenue of $182.4 million, down 3%. Live events revenue declined 15% to $26.2 million. Media revenue edged up 1.5% to $135.4 million. Consumer products revenue decreased 11% to $20.8 million.
Management attributed the losses to the decline in revenue and increased fixed costs, including strategic investments, as well as higher stock compensation costs driven by the increase in WWE stock.
The WWE is coming off its annual “Superstar Shake-up” with their next big PPV – Money In The Bank – scheduled to take place on May 19.