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When World Wrestling Entertainment reported its sluggish first-quarter performance in April, CEO Vince McMahon blamed it on “superstar absences,” the temporary sidelining of many of his star grapplers due to injuries accumulated in 2018 and early 2019.
But now that WWE is on the verge of releasing its second-quarter numbers on July 25, McMahon is going to have to come up with a new excuse if his company’s Q2 results remain soft.
Variety - Analysis - Wrestlers - McMahon - Ring
A Variety analysis indicates that although nearly all of the injured wrestlers McMahon referenced returned to the ring in the first half of 2019, ratings for WWE’s flagship TV properties, “Raw” and “SmackDown,” sunk significantly compared with the same period last year.
Without “superstar absences” to blame, it will be interesting at the end of Q2 to see how McMahon explains the worrisome decline. He may have to do just that if he addresses high-profile new hires he made last month to oversee his ailing shows.
McMahon - Kind - Hope - Investors - WWE
McMahon will also have to offer some kind of hope to investors given how badly WWE stock has been slumping since Q1, closing Friday 29% down against the 2019 high of $99. The company’s TV partners, NBCUniversal and Fox, are also reportedly getting anxious about the state of the WWE, having paid a combined $2.35 billion earlier this year to keep “Raw” and “SmackDown” on the air for five more years.
The networks haven’t said anything publicly expressing concern, but the data demonstrates they have every right to be worried.
McMahon - WWE - Ratings - Woes - Shortage
McMahon first blamed the WWE’s ratings woes on a talent shortage on the Q4 call in January, naming 13 specific wrestlers whose injuries had impacted the product. “While engagement metrics over the past two quarters were impacted by superstar absences, we believe they will improve as our talent return and we launch our new season following a successful...
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