Return of live events helps WWE to 19 per cent growth in Q2 2021 as consumer products see marginal lift

The return of live events has helped revenue increase 19 per cent at WWE, with knock-on effects prompting lifts across the business, including the consumer products business which saw slight increases fueled by this year’s WrestleMania.

Reported in its second quarter 2021 financials, WWE has seen revenue hit $265.6 million – a lift of $42.2 million – driven by increased monetisation of content in its Media segment, as well as increases in Live Event revenue and WrestleMania, the company’s first ticketed event since Q1 2020.

Operating income for the entertainment company, however, saw a dip of 17 per cent year on year, to hit $46.3 million. This was primarily driven by higher television and event-related production expenses, $8.1 million in severance expense, and the return of employees from furlough. 

It’s still a positive outlook for the company who is celebrating “solid financial results” as it continues to focus on fan engagement. WWE announced the return of its live event touring on July 16th this year. The five events that aired throughout July have been close to full capacity, with current demand for future events on “on par with 2019.”

Meanwhile, digital video views hit a record 11.2 billion – an increase of 13 per cent – as the total hours consumer hit a new record 394 million across digital and social platforms.

“During the second quarter, we generated solid financial results as we continued to focus on building fan engagement,” said Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and CEO.

“With the announced return to live event touring and robust ticket demand, we believe we can further consumption across platforms, maximise new business opportunities and drive long-term growth.”

Kristina Salen, WWE chief financial officer, added: “In the quarter, Adjusted OIBDA results reflected an increase in television production expenses to enhance the viewing experience of WWE’s fans.

“Although Adjusted OIBDA declined, key performance metrics demonstrated positive trends and we continue to realise better than expected television production efficiences, stronger sponsorship sales and heightened demand for our live events.”

In its consumer products segment, WWE saw Q2 revenue hit $22.5 million – an increase of one per cent on the year prior – as higher toy royalties and venue merchandise sales from WrestleMania offset lower e-commerce merchandise sales.

The decrease in e-commerce sales reflected ‘a tough comparison to elevated Covid-related sales in the year before.