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WWE reports first quarter financial results

WWE's first quarter business report released today listed $187.7 million in total revenue and $14.8 million in profits, as compared to $188.4 million in revenue and $900,000 in profits for the same quarter last year.

The revenue was slightly below Wall Street's expectations of $191 million, but profits were ahead of expectations of $10 million to $11 million.

Some of the profit interest is due to a lower tax rate from movement from the Trump Administration, although that is a small part of it.

Wall Street was happy with profits beating projections as the stock has climbed to $40.92 per share at the time of this report.

There are also differences in timing related to recognition of licensing revenue in how they have changed reporting that would make the numbers different. Using last year's methods, the revenue figure would be $198 million. That will make a difference later in the year as the estimated $10.3 million in revenue will be recognized in later quarters. However, last year when it came to profits was impacted by legal expenses of $5.6 million and $2.1 million in movie studio losses.

Essentially, the company is being carried by media rights deals. As they continue to escalate, revenues and profits escalate with them. The Mixed Match Challenge deal with Facebook also helped in that category. The WWE Network increased in subscribers but it wasn't in the current report given direct numbers of how all of the 99 cent for three month subscriptions affected revenue. But WWE Network expenses were down due to lesser money spent on original programming.

Overall, the company was far more vague regarding details and different categories as compared to the past.

Live ticket sales were slightly down, due to slightly lower attendance factoring out last year's San Antonio Royal Rumble from a comparison point. There was also a decline in merchandise sales even with running four more events. Venue merchandise, even with running more events, was down 18 percent, but some of that is also because the Royal Rumble sold so many fewer tickets this year being in a smaller arena. Consumer product revenue was cut in half but that is partially a nature of timing of when the revenue is recognized and that should even out by the end of the year.

If you factor out the Rumble, the declines are slight.

The company is projecting 1.77 million paid Network subscribers on average for the second quarter and is projecting OIBDA for 2018 to hit $150 million, which would be easily a record-breaking year.

When asked, they said that information regarding revenue from Saudi Arabia would be released at the next call in early August past calling the show on Friday the most successful international event in company history.

They hope to have announcements of a new television deal by September.

There was also talk about tiered Network pricing but they didn't go into detail, and pushed that they had a 10-year relationship with Saudi Arabia and are hoping to be part of social changes in the years to come.