11/7 WWE Conference Call report: TKO executives discuss the third quarter financial report


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

TKO executives hosted a conference call pertaining to the company’s third quarter earnings report that was released on November 7, 2023 at TKOgrp.com. The following are the highlights of the call. Refresh the page for the latest updates.

-TKO Senior VP of Investor Relations Seth Zaslow read through the legalities and then turned things over to the hosts.

-The call was hosted by CEO, Ari Emanuel, President and COO Mark Shapiro, and CFO Andrew Schleimer. Emanuel delivered the opening statement. He touted the fan bases of WWE and UFC and the revenue synergies between the two brands. Emanuel spoke of the expansion of the UFC deal with Abu Dhabi, as well as the new deal with Saudi Arabia.

-Emanuel said they are making “solid progress” on the media rights front. He mentioned the new NXT deal with The CW Network and said it’s a 70 percent increase over the current NXT television deal. Emanuel said they have until October of next year to find the right partner for Raw. Emanuel also mentioned their previously announced deal that will bring Smackdown back to USA Network next year.

-Schleimer read through the financial report. They opened the lines for calls (I’m only including WWE related highlights).

-One of the hosts touted UFC’s deal with Bud Light and said that there will be similar deals on the WWE side.

-A caller asked what gives them confidence about the television rights situation improving in the coming year and how it pertains to the Raw rights. They touted the ratings increases on broadcast and cable television compared to declining averages for both mediums. They said they are very pleased with the Smackdown agreement and played up WWE airing in prime time four times on NBC per year. It was also noted that 40 percent of the Fox market was unable to watch live, whereas it will be live everywhere via USA Network. It was once again stated that they are “very comfortable with Raw’s position” and that there is no timeline. It was added that they took the same approach with UFC.

-The subject of PFL being competition to UFC was brought up due to a recent Saudi investment in the rival league. They said competition is not new for UFC or WWE and it’s not just rival fighting or wrestling leagues, it’s other forms of entertainment. They also said they were supportive of PFL being on ESPN because they consider it a feeder league similar to the way the XFL hopes its players will make it to the NFL.

-The final caller asked about underutilized ad space, specifically bringing up the ring. It was noted that Vince McMahon is open to advertising in and around the ring. It was also mentioned that they are looking at running WWE and UFC events in the same markets on some weekends. They wrapped up the call shortly thereafter.

Powell’s POV: My apologies for struggling to match the voices with the names at times. I am surprised that they still don’t have a deal for Raw. It will be interesting to see if this creates any concern amongst the shareholders. I suspect the lack of a Raw deal will leave Tony Khan nervous to some degree about the possibility that Warner Bros. Discovery could be the landing spot for WWE’s longtime flagship home.

On a lighter note, the pros and cons of TKO vs. WWE earnings calls? TKO has much better waiting music with the Foo Fighters and Beastie Boys among the bands that were played before the call. This is a huge upgrade over the dreadful elevator music that WWE used. Conversely, Nick Khan was missed on the TKO call. Khan made the WWE calls easy to follow, and I enjoyed the way he worked in a lot of nuggets regarding sports television rights.


Readers Comments (2)

  1. If Raw moves off of USA, does it also lose the 3rd hour?

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