WWE reported their 2020 financial results today. In addition to generating their highest annual net income in 2020, the company also had their highest annual revenue in history.
“We generated some pretty strong financial results in a challenging environment,” WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon stated during Thursday’s earnings call. “We need to produce content and we never missed a week. It shows the flexibility and the commitment to our audience, which we’ve always have.”
Outside of having a small amount of fans at the WWE Performance Center for various shows throughout the year, WWE has not run any events in front of fans since March of 2020. McMahon noted that while the challenges of the pandemic continue, they expect a gradual return to shows with fans.
“Looking ahead to 2021, the challenges of a COVID environment, it continues on,” McMahon said. “We expect a gradual return to ticketed audiences. And that is something that is… OK, we’re going to have live events, but will the live events make any money? Are we going to have 20% [capacity], 30%, 40% to where you break even? I don’t think anyone has a handle on exactly when that’s going to happen.”
While the timeframe to return to ticketed events remains fluid, McMahon noted that they are ready when they are able to resume. He noted that they could turn around a live event in just six weeks when they’re able to.
“We are ready,” stated McMahon. “We are the most flexible, adaptable media company in the world. We can turn something around in terms of live events in six weeks. It just speaks to our ability to innovate as a media company and continue in this current environment to create long term value.”
In their guidance that was issued on Thursday, WWE stated that they expect restrictions related to the spread of COVID-19, particularly related to the reduced capacity, postponement or cancellation of ticketed live events, to continue through “at least” the first half of 2021.
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