WWE Secures HUGE New TV Deals, Smackdown Moving To Fox

WWE issued the following today:

WWE® Secures Multi-Year Media Rights Deals with USA Network and Fox Sports

WWE (NYSE:WWE) today announced that it has completed landmark agreements with USA Network and Fox Sports, effective October 1, 2019, for the U.S. distribution of WWE’s flagship programs Raw and SmackDown. As part of these five-year agreements, Monday Night Raw will continue to air on USA Network; and Fox Sports will distribute SmackDown Live each Friday on Fox broadcast network. These agreements increase the average annual value (AAV) of WWE’s U.S. distribution to 3.6 times that of the prior deal with NBCU

“Key Content Agreements” – Top 7 Countries/ Regions (Exhibit 1)

Since the completion of its previous U.S. distribution agreement for Raw and SmackDown in 2014, the Company has discussed the deal’s financial impact by describing the growth of WWE’s seven largest television distribution agreements, of which that deal is a significant part. These “key content agreements”1, provided $105 million of contractual revenue growth from 2014 to 2018, increasing from $130 million in 2014 to approximately $235 million in 2018.

The monetization of content is a fundamental element of the Company’s business model, and the new agreements with USA Network and Fox Sports will provide a sizeable increase in the average annual value of WWE’s U.S. distribution. WWE management anticipates that revenue from “key content agreements” including the new U.S. deals, described as “Existing and New Agreements” revenue in Exhibit 1, will grow to approximately $311 million in 2019 and $462 million in 2021. The Company has other agreements that are subject to renewal in the 2019 – 2021 period, which are described as “To Be Negotiated,” and their revenue subsequent to renewal is not ascertainable. For illustrative purposes, the related amounts in Exhibit 1 reflect no future change in annual revenue (i.e. all future years are held equal to the value of the last year in the current agreements). This approach, which indicates revenue of $3 million in 2019 and $80 million in 2021, does not quantify management expectations and is used solely to reflect future risk or opportunity. As shown in Exhibit 1, revenue from the Company’s “key content agreements” would increase to $314 million in 2019 and $542 million in 2021.

Core Content Revenue – All Global Markets (Exhibit 2)

Core content revenue, as shown in the Company’s reported financial statements, consists primarily of licensing revenues earned from the global distribution of its flagship programs, Raw and SmackDown. By definition, the Company’s core content revenue includes the subset of license fees associated with its top 7 countries/ regions (“key content agreements”) as described above.WWE management anticipates that revenue from its core content agreements that extend through 2019 and subsequent years, described as “Existing and New Agreements” revenue in Exhibit 2, will grow to approximately $331 million in 2019 and $462 million in 2021. The Company has other agreements that are subject to renewal in the 2019 – 2021 period, which are described as “To Be Negotiated,” and their revenue subsequent to renewal is not ascertainable. For illustrative purposes, the related amounts in Exhibit 2 reflect no future change in annual revenue (i.e. all future years are held equal to the value of the last year in the current agreements). This approach, which indicates revenue of $17 million in 2019 and $114 million in 2021, does not quantify management expectations and is used solely to reflect future risk or opportunity. As shown in Exhibit 2, total revenue from the Company’s core content agreements would increase to $348 million in 2019 and $576 million in 2021.

Financial Outlook 2019

The Company is in the early stages of developing its operating and financial plans for 2019 and subsequent years. Given the substantial revenue growth provided by its new U.S.deals, the Company is currently targeting Adjusted OIBDA of at least $200 million for 2019, during which the new deals’ rates are effective for only three months.3

Management recognizes the transformative nature of these agreements and expects to provide additional long-term perspective on the Company’s strategic and financial goals after its content distribution plans in the U.S., U.K., and India have been determined, and its plans have further evolved. Management currently expects to reach agreement in the U.K. by year-end 2018, and in India during the first half of 2019. Although these agreements could be secured either before or after these dates, management believes that these ranges represent the most likely periods for such communication.

Additional Information

WWE will host a conference call at 8:00 a.m. ET on June 27 to discuss the contents of this release. All interested parties are welcome to listen to a live webcast that will be hosted through the Company’s website at corporate.wwe.com/investors. Participants can access the conference call by dialing 1-855-200-4993 (toll-free) or 1-323-794-2092 from outside the U.S. (conference ID for both lines: 1980819). Please reserve a line approximately 10 minutes prior to the start time of the conference call.

The presentation referenced during the call will be made available on June 27, 2018, website at corporate.wwe.com/investors. A replay of the call will be available approximately two hours after the conference call concludes, and can be accessed on the Co website.

About WWE

WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The Company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family-friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE’s TV-PG, the family-friendly programming can be seen in more than 800 million homes worldwide in 24 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live pay-per-views, scheduled programming, and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than 180 countries. The Company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai,  Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo.

Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.

Sir Mitch Says: In layman’s terms, Smackdown is moving to the broadcast network Fox in 2019 and will air on Friday’s and Vince McMahon has somehow secured TV deals in the US for Raw and Smackdown worth over three times more than WWE is getting paid now which is just mind-boggling. 

Long story short Vince NEVER has to care about a dissatisfied audience and low ticket sales EVER again and can book whatever the hell he wants to book!