By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE executives hosted a conference call pertaining to the WWE second quarter financial report that was released on July 29, 2021 at Corporate.WWE.com. The following are the highlights of the call. Refresh the page for the latest updates.
-The call was hosted by Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, and WWE Chief Financial Officer Kristina Salen, and WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan. WWE Senior VP of Investor Relations Michael Weitz read through the legalities and then turned it over to Vince.
-Vince spoke briefly about live events numbers looking strong and television ratings improving before handing off to Khan.
-Khan spoke about the media rights deals for pro sports increasing. He said they are encouraged as the negotiate licensing deals for WWE Network content internationally.
-Khan sang the praises of moving pay-per-view events to Peacock. He said Backlash viewership was up 26 percent, Hell in a Cell was up was up 25 percent, and Money in the Bank was 46 percent compared to the prior year.
-Khan read through the impressive early live event figures and live event merchandise figures.
-Khan said they sold over 40,000 tickets for SummerSlam before they announced a single match.
-The January 1 pay-per-view in Atlanta at State Farm Arena was addressed. Khan said the NFL isn’t running that night, and the college football playoffs will be held the night before, so they saw an opening in the sports schedule.
-John Cena will be featured in the company’s second NFT drop during SummerSlam weekend.
-Khan brought up “The United States of America versus Vince McMahon” limited series. “We are excited for this story to be told,” Khan said.
-Stephanie McMahon spoke more about the return of fans at events. She recalled that she and Triple H greeted fans outside the venue before the first Smackdown to have fans in attendance.
-Stephanie touted the “zombies” taking part in a WrestleMania Backlash match as part of their partnership with Batista’s “Army of the Dead” film. She pointed to the social media buzz that was generated (even if a lot of it was negative).
-Salen read through the financial report presentation and then they opened up the lines to callers.
-A caller brought up the soccer streaming rights compared to WWE. Khan noted that soccer is the top sport globally. WWE doesn’t appeal at the same level, but he thinks they do appeal at a high level.
-Salen noted that their live events tour schedule for the remainder of 2021 will be released shortly.
-Khan said they “Hope to have good news shortly” regarding their MENA television rights negotiations.
-Salen said the company hopes to move into its new headquarters in the fourth quarter of 2022. They also hope to sell some of their current facilities.
-Vince was asked about AEW and their investments in talent. He said he doesn’t consider them competition the way WCW was back in the day. Khan said it’s like a horse race with a horse having blinders on. He said they are looking straight ahead in their lane. He said everything is their competition and they don’t look at any organization as being competition, yet they view everything as competition for eyeballs.
-A caller brought up sports providing more hours to networks with games and shoulder content. Khan touted the hours of content that WWE also provides.
-Peacock being available for free on Sky in Europe was mentioned. The caller asked if WWE could be part of that or if they have existing deals that could delay that. Khan spoke of being optimistic and said they would see what they have over the next couple of months. They wrapped up the call shortly thereafter.
Powell’s POV: Vince being so dismissive of AEW as competition is sure to trigger a lot of fans. It’s really par for the course. They’ve been making similar statements for years about all of entertainment being their competition. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that he and Khan didn’t put AEW over by making them seem like a threat as they were speaking with financial analysts.