You can check out some highlights from the TKO Q3 Earnings Call below:
* Ari Emanuel started the call by talking about the Smackdown NXT media rights fees and how they’re trying to open up long-term value for the shareholders. He also talked about the UFC’s expansion into the Middle East through their new Saudi Arabia deal, saying that it builds on WWE’s relationship with the Kingdom and how they are looking at eight-figure site fees from the region.
* WWE’s new international PPVs (Bash in Berlin and and Elimination Chamber: Perth) have been announced, noting that Elimination Chamber in Australia will be largest site fee ever.
* Emanuel announced the WWE NXT TV deal, noting that it will be a 70% increase in media fee rights. He said there are multiple conversations behind had with possible broadcast and streaming partners for Raw, and they aren’t in any rush to lock things in there. He highlighted the new NBC primetime specials as part of the new Smackdown deal as well.
* It was discussed how they are moving to save $50 million to $100 million in costs through their merging of parts of the two companies (WWE and UFC) that can help each other, as well as budgetary and personnel cuts. They are still in the process on this.
* All of the numbers from the earnings report were run down.
* They began to take calls, and the first asked about the process of merging UFC and WWE. It was said that once they’re done with their cost-savings process, they’ll be in a good position and expect an update on the next earnings call, when they’ll be giving guidance for 2024. They believe that the stock is currently undervalued and they’re focused on return of capital to their shareholders. They will have their full plan in February.
* The next call asked about how the state of sports rights impacts their strategies for Raw and in general, and they said that viewership is up across key demographics despite ratings in general being down across broadcast and cable. They have no churn in content and are creators year-round. They’re happy with the 40% increase for the Smackdown TV rights as well as the NBC specials, and said they’ll be live across the board now as opposed to where they weren’t on FOX in 40% of the company. It was added that CW, where NXT will be, is a major network with reach across 100% of the company and NXT is important to WWE’s health going forward. They’re going to be patient and calculated with their Raw talks and are handling it the way they did with UFC rights.
* It was also noted that regarding sports rights, the the NASCAR Xfinity Series went to the CW for a “monster” number. The NBA’s rights are getting everyone lined up and Netflix is starting to dip their toes into sports. They noted Raw has a lot of equity and brand awareness and they can move to a new partner overnight if needed. It was noted that WrestleMania and UFC are triggers that cause people to sign up for Peacock or ESPN+, thus meaning that they drive subscriptions.
* The company is happy with how the WWE and UFC teams are coming together and they expect they can partner with UFC and WWE events in international markets. China was named as a potential destination.
* Asked about more sponsorships on WWE programming, it was noted that Vince McMahon is open to having more sponsorship inventories as compared to before when they kept things like the arena and ring mat relatively clean. It was noted that they won’t be revealing their hands on deals and give potential partnerships away.
* Asked about potential “super weekends’ of WWE programming, it was said they were looking at possible Saturday and Monday “event weekends” for the WWE and UFC.
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The TKO Q3 Earnings Call provided some interesting insights into the world of professional wrestling and the business strategies of WWE. Here are some highlights from the call:
1. Smackdown NXT Media Rights Fees: Ari Emanuel, the CEO of WWE, discussed the importance of securing long-term value for shareholders through media rights fees. He mentioned the UFC’s expansion into the Middle East with a new Saudi Arabia deal, which builds on WWE’s existing relationship with the Kingdom. The company is looking to generate significant site fees from the region.
2. International PPVs: WWE announced two new international pay-per-view events, Bash in Berlin and Elimination Chamber: Perth. The Elimination Chamber event in Australia is expected to have the largest site fee ever. This demonstrates WWE’s commitment to expanding its global reach and catering to international audiences.
3. WWE NXT TV Deal: Emanuel revealed that the new TV deal for WWE NXT will result in a 70% increase in media rights fees. This indicates the growing popularity and demand for NXT programming. Additionally, discussions are ongoing with potential broadcast and streaming partners for Raw, highlighting WWE’s focus on maximizing revenue opportunities.
4. Cost-saving Measures: The call addressed WWE’s efforts to save $50 million to $100 million in costs through the merging of certain aspects of WWE and UFC. This includes budgetary and personnel cuts. The company is still in the process of implementing these measures, which aim to improve efficiency and profitability.
5. Financial Numbers: The earnings report was reviewed during the call, providing a comprehensive overview of WWE’s financial performance. These numbers give investors and stakeholders a clear understanding of the company’s current standing.
6. Merging UFC and WWE: When asked about the process of merging UFC and WWE, it was stated that once the cost-saving process is complete, the company will be in a strong position. An update on the merger is expected during the next earnings call, where guidance for 2024 will be provided. The management believes that the stock is undervalued and is focused on delivering returns to shareholders.
7. Sports Rights and Strategies: Despite overall ratings decline in broadcast and cable, WWE highlighted that viewership is up across key demographics. They emphasized their year-round content creation and expressed satisfaction with the 40% increase in Smackdown TV rights and the new NBC primetime specials. The importance of NXT on the CW network was also emphasized, as it plays a crucial role in WWE’s future success. WWE intends to approach Raw negotiations with patience and strategy, similar to how they handled UFC rights.
8. Sponsorships and Partnerships: Vince McMahon, the Chairman and CEO of WWE, expressed openness to more sponsorship opportunities on WWE programming. The company aims to increase sponsorship inventories, but specific deals and partnerships were not disclosed during the call.
9. “Super Weekends” of WWE Programming: WWE is exploring the possibility of hosting “super weekends” featuring events from both WWE and UFC. These events could potentially take place on Saturdays and Mondays, offering fans an immersive experience.
The TKO Q3 Earnings Call provided valuable insights into WWE’s business strategies, financial performance, and plans for the future. As the company continues to expand its global reach and explore new revenue streams, fans can expect exciting developments in the world of professional wrestling.