WWE announced today that they are expecting record 2020 financial results. They also issued their 2021 Adjusted OIBDA (Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization) Guidance Range of $270 million – $305 million.
WWE expects to report record 2020 operating income of $209 million and a record 2020 adjusted OIBDA of $286 million on Thursday, February 4 when they issue the 4Q and full 2020 earnings.
Today’s announcement was made in conjunction with the new WWE Network – Peacock deal, which you can read here. It was noted at this link that the multi-year deal is reportedly worth more than $1 Billion.
WWE noted that they made it through a 2020 that was challenging for live content producers, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they did that while never going off the air. Because of that, and with the implementation of extensive short-term cost reductions, the COVID-19 pandemic had an estimated net neutral impact on WWE’s 2020 adjusted OIBDA. WWE estimates its full year 2020 adjusted OIBDA to be a record $286 million, which is up nearly 60% from the previous year.
The release also said WWE expects restrictions related to the spread of COVID-19, particularly related to the cancellation, postponement or reduced capacity of ticketed live events, to last at least through the first half of this year. WWE also expects a significant year-over-year increase in their expense base due to the full return of employees who were furloughed in April 2020, and continued higher expenses associated with the production of RAW, SmackDown and pay-per-view events from the ThunderDome at Tropicana Field. WWE estimates it can achieve 2021 adjusted OIBDA of $270 – $305 million as revenue growth is offset by the increase in personnel and production expenses. The revenue growth is expected to be driven by the impact of the new Peacock deal with NBCU, the gradual ramp-up of ticketed live events, including large-scale international shows, and the escalation of core content rights fees.
WWE also estimates that the stated 2021 adjusted OIBDA guidance range would be 15% – 20% higher if it weren’t for the ongoing impact of COVID-19, which includes the loss of ticket and merchandise sales from live events, and the increased investment in production to further fan engagement.
Stay tuned for more on WWE earnings and be sure to join us on Thursday, February 4 for the full Q4 and full year 2020 earnings report at 4pm, then coverage of the investors call with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and others at 5pm.
Below is the full announcement issued to us today by WWE:
WWE® ANNOUNCES EXPECTATION FOR RECORD 2020 RESULTS AND ISSUES 2021 GUIDANCE
* WWE completes strategic licensing agreement with NBCU’s Peacock service
* The Company expects to report record 2020 Operating Income of $209 million and record 2020 Adjusted OIBDA1 of $286 million
* WWE issues 2021 Adjusted OIBDA Guidance Range of $270 – $305 million2
* Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Earnings Call Date Set for February 4, 2021
STAMFORD, Conn., January 25, 2021 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced expectations for its 2020 financial results and outlined guidance for 2021. The announcements were made in conjunction with the communication of a new agreement to license WWE’s premium content to NBCU’s Peacock service, which will become the sole streaming distributor in the U.S. of WWE’s first-run premium content.
Throughout the 2020 year, WWE managed a challenging environment particularly for producers of live content. WWE never went off the air. Because of that, combined with the implementation of extensive short-term cost reductions, COVID-19 had an estimated net neutral impact on WWE’s 2020 Adjusted OIBDA. Accordingly, the Company estimates its full year 2020 Adjusted OIBDA (unaudited) to be approximately $286 million, which would be a record, up nearly 60% from the prior year.3 A reconciliation of estimated 2020 Adjusted OIBDA to Operating Income can be found in the supplemental schedule on page 5 of this release.
Management expects restrictions related to the spread of COVID-19, particularly related to the cancellation, postponement or reduced capacity of ticketed live events, to continue at least through the first half of 2021. Additionally, management anticipates a significant year-over-year increase in WWE’s expense base due to the full return of employees from furlough and continued higher expenses associated with the production of its weekly Raw and SmackDown television content at the WWE ThunderDome from its stadium residence at Tropicana Field. The Company estimates it can achieve 2021 Adjusted OIBDA of $270 – $305 million as revenue growth, driven by the impact of the Peacock transaction, the gradual ramp-up of ticketed live events, including large-scale international events, and the escalation of core content rights fees, is offset by the increase in personnel and production expenses.
Management estimates that the stated 2021 Adjusted OIBDA guidance range would be 15% – 20% higher without the ongoing impact of COVID-19, which includes the loss of ticket and merchandise sales at live events and the increased investment in production to further fan engagement. Estimates of future performance beyond 2021 will be impacted by the return of these businesses and various other factors.
WWE is unable to provide a reconciliation of full year 2021 guidance to GAAP measures as, at this time, WWE cannot accurately determine all of the adjustments that would be required.
(1) The definition of Adjusted OIBDA can be found in the Non-GAAP Measures section below
(2) The Company’s business model and expected results will continue to be subject to significant execution and other risks, including risks relating to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on WWE’s business, results of operations and financial condition, entering, maintaining and renewing major distribution agreements, uncertainties associated with international markets and risks inherent in large live events, and other risk factors previously disclosed in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 and supplemented in our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on March 17, 2020 and further supplemented in Part II, Item 1A, Risk Factors, in our quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2020 filed with the SEC on October 29, 2020
(3) WWE has not completed preparation of its financial statements for the full year 2020. Financial results presented herein for the full year ended December 31, 2020 are preliminary and unaudited and thus inherently uncertain and subject to change. The Company is in the process of completing its year-end close and there can be no assurance that the Company’s final audited results for this period will not differ from the preliminary results presented herein
You can click here to full the full press release on the WWE Corporate website.
(Photo Credit: WWE)