Ahead of their full second quarter 2022 earnings report, WWE released its 10-Q filing to the Securities & Exchange Commission regarding those numbers last night (Aug. 15).
The filing included second-quarter revenue: $328.1 million, an increase of more than $63 million from the second quarter of 2021. The return to touring and a successful WrestleMania event with no COVID capacity caps were key. reasons for the jump.
- Live Events $41.0 million in revenue, up from $9.2 million in the prior year quarter.
- Consumer product sales doubled year-over-year from $22 million to $44 million. That included a major increase in merchandise sales fueled by WrestleMania and $5.6 million in licensing revenue from the release of WWE 2K22.
The 10-Q also has new details about Vince McMahon’s past investigation into unaccounted payments and his subsequent firing. WWE has spent $1.7 million on the research so far and expects more than five times that amount by the end of the year:
As previously announced, a special committee of independent members of the company’s board of directors was formed to investigate alleged misconduct by the company’s former chairman and chief executive, Vincent K. McMahon. The investigation of the special committee has largely been completed. Mr. McMahon resigned from all positions he held with the company on July 22, 2022, but remains a majority shareholder. While we currently expect to spend approximately $10 million on this research over the remainder of the year, the related costs could exceed this estimate.
There are also a number of statements about the impact of McMahon’s departure from his positions as chairman, CEO and head of creative. Documenting risk factors is standard for investor communications (Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics notes that even in more stable times, “WWE’s filings have a tone that sounds this ominous”), but can sound alarming and/or bizarre to wrestling fans:
The resignation of Vincent K. McMahon could negatively affect our ability to create popular characters and creative storylines or otherwise negatively impact our bottom line.
Until he resigned from all positions with the company on July 22, 2022, in addition to being Chairman of our Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. McMahon led the creative team that develops the storylines and characters for our programming (including our television, WWE Network and other programs) and live events. On July 22, 2022, the Board of Directors appointed Stephanie McMahon, then Chief Brand Officer, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Interim Chairman and Director of the Company, and Nick Khan, then President, Chief Revenue Officer and Director of the Company, to serve as co-Chief Executive Officers of the company. The board of directors has also appointed Stephanie McMahon as chairman of the company. Additionally, in the wake of Mr. McMahon’s departure, our creative efforts will be led by Paul Levesque, the company’s Executive Vice President, Talent Relations and Creative and the husband of Ms. McMahon, who has decades of experience in our company. and a key player in all aspects of our creative process, including television, talent and live events. While Mr. Levesque has extensive hands-on experience with many of our revenue streams and, with Ms. McMahon, has been critically involved in our business transformation and ongoing brand development in recent years, these collective changes are at the top of our agenda. organization are extensive and recent, and it is therefore possible that the loss of Mr. McMahon’s services could have a material adverse effect on our ability to create popular characters and creative storylines or otherwise adversely affect our our operations and/or financial performance.
More coming soon.