WWE Conference Call: What did Vince McMahon tell Investors?


Today, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon held a conference call along with CFO George Barrios and Investor Relations Michael Weitz to “calm down” investors following a huge stock market drop, reportedly the result of the company’s new television deal with NBC Universal.

A “great deal of clarity” was McMahon’s goal in regards to the business standpoint, priding themselves on transparency. Admitting they were somewhat disappointed in the NBCU deal, McMahon claimed they were able to nearly double their overall television rights revenue, stating, “a good deal, not what we wanted”.

Vince went on to emphatically state that the core business is “rock solid” and that they feel very strong about the business model for the WWE Network before handing the call over to Barrios.

Barrios took over and discussed numbers regarding the network and said they invested $75 million into the network and $40 million in staffing. Barrios explained that if WWE Network produces one million subscribers by the end of 2014, it would yield a 12-month average of 650,000 subscribers for the year. 

Barrios talked a 2015 potential outcome of 1.5 million subscribers and stressed that it’s a possible scenario. He said they expect “a gradual ramp up over time” in network subscribers, stressing that global network reach and expansion of platforms and marketing campaigns as keys.

Callers then chimed in with their concerns and Vince jumped back in. A caller asked whether the launch of the network was an issue in television negotiations and if they would delay the launch if they had to do it again. Vince said he believes it did have an adverse effect, but waiting until after the negotiations would have delayed the network by another year.

The same caller noted that AT&T and DirecTV said they hope to invest in over the top distributors. He asked if WWE has had any talks about selling their content that way. Vince believes everyone will recognize that over the top distribution is the way of the future and said there will be many opportunities that open up for WWE similar to the aforementioned potential deals.

Subjects brought up by callers such as network employee turnover and subscriber count were put on hold by Barrios until next conference call, who also didn’t want to reveal certain plans yet. He did say that the show “Tough Enough” will appear on the network.

It appears this is an important year for WWE to step up.