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WWE Q2 finances, Vince McMahon investigation costs, investor call notes

WWE also reported Q2 attendance, video game revenues, and more.
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The following was updated at 10 AM Eastern Tuesday.

WWE announced 2022 second quarter revenues of $328+ million, an increase of over $63 million from the same time period in 2021.

Additionally, the "substantially complete" investigation into now-former chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, including how much they anticipate the investigation to cost, was also addressed.

The numbers were released in a 10-Q filing Monday night. followed by a Tuesday morning call. 

The reason for the Q2 call being delayed is the changes the company is needing to make to past financial statements due to unrecorded expenses by McMahon.

In the filing, they addressed the recent investigation:

As previously announced, a Special Committee of independent members of the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Special Committee”) was formed to investigate alleged misconduct by the Company’s former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Vincent K. McMahon. Mr. McMahon resigned from all positions held with the Company on July 22, 2022 but remains a stockholder with a controlling interest. The Company has received, and may receive in the future, regulatory, investigative and enforcement inquiries, subpoenas or demands arising from, related to, or in connection with these matters. The Special Committee investigation is substantially complete. In addition to the foregoing, from time to time we become a party to other lawsuits and claims. By its nature, the outcome of litigation is not known, but the Company does not currently expect this ordinary course litigation to have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or liquidity.

Because of the investigation, WWE has suspended its stock repurchase program. 

As noted in the report, they spent $1.7 million in Q2 in general/admin expenses for the investigation and "currently anticipate spending approximately $10 million during the remainder of the year related to this investigation," noting the related costs could exceed that.

Thus far, McMahon paid $2.2 million this year and $1.2 million during the first six months of 2021. He has paid, or will pay, the total of $19.6 million of unrecorded expenses.

Inside The Numbers

Net media revenue was up to $328+ million, up from last year's $265 million in Q2. Live event revenue ($41+ million up from $9.2 million) and consumer products ($44 million up from $22 million) were the primary drivers. Of that, North American ticket sales were at $34.9 million, up from last year's $6.6 million when they held just WrestleMania in Tampa, Florida.

Total live attendance for the quarter was 400,300 over 55 events -- up from 40,400 last year (two nights of WrestleMania in Tampa). Average North American attendance was 6800 while four international events drew an average of 6550. Live event venue merchandise did $7.3 million.

The release of WWE 2K22 brought in $5.6 million in licensing revenue while trading cards and collectibles helped generate $3.1 million.

WWE will continue to spend on content creation, noting that in the first six months, they spent just under $20 million for A&E, Miz & Mrs., WWE Evil and other shows for the WWE Network, compared to $9.1 million the year prior. They anticipated spending between $20-$30 million on content the rest of the year.

In term of "content production incentives," they received $4 million this year with an expected $10 million coming in the rest of the year.

MLW

WWE addressed the ongoing lawsuit from MLW, who is claiming WWE interfered with a potential Tubi deal and their Vice TV deal, saying they had moved to dismiss the lawsuit in March with MLW filing their response in April. 

"The Company believes that all claims in the lawsuit are without merit and intends to defend itself vigorously against them," it wrote.

Investor Call Notes

Stephanie McMahon, Nick Khan, Paul Levesque and Frank Riddick were on the call. McMahon respectfully addressed the "retirement" of Vince McMahon in her opening remarks while Riddick later accurately called it a resignation.

As part of her list of things to go over, McMahon talked about the year-over-year unique viewership increases on Peacock for WrestleMania (60%), Backlash (49%) and Hell in a Cell (45%).

During the call, she said she wasn't forced to come back as co-CEO but offered.

Khan again showed optimism for the future rights deal, citing streamers getting into the "live" game and recent rights increase for sports properties. He was asked about packaging the upcoming second day rights to Raw along with the new rights, and he said it's a delicate balance of monetizing things short-term and long-term.

Levesque said he is looking at everything from top to bottom creatively with "first day thinking" and is confident with the team they have in place. He thinks fans are already seeing some positive momentum. He also touted the company's NIL program and that the average age of the talent at the PC is 23. They signed 50 new developmental talents the first half of the year.

He said over 90,000 tickets have been sold thus far for both nights of WrestleMania in SoFi.

They said they got a subsidy from Cardiff, Wales, to hold Clash at the Castle -- something they are going to look to do with other host cities for major events in the future. Between the subsidy, ticket sales and in-venue merchandise, Clash is going to be "very profitable" for them.