Every quarter the WWE has an investor’s call where the executives answer questions and comment on quarterly earnings. Vince McMahon ran that show this past Thursday with some interesting tidbits coming out of the call.
The Camel Clutch Blog has been in existence now for over two years and I think this is the first time that I have ever published a blog on an investor’s call. Most of the time it is the usual cliché answers and financial information only interesting to those who own WWE stock, yet Thursday’s call was actually quite newsworthy in several different areas of WWE business.
When asked about whether the UFC affected WWE pay-per-view buys, Vince said that they do impact buys. Although his reasoning wasn’t what you would expect. He cited the pay-per-view company advertising dollars as the key component to the competition. According to Vince, the UFC takes away advertising revenue that the pay-per-view companies would be spending on the WWE when they have shows on the same weekend.
He may have a point but really, is that the only impact that the UFC is having on WWE business? I think the bottom line here is that the storylines in the WWE have been crap the last few years and pro wrestling fans are moving on. While I do think there are plenty of pro wrestling fans that like the UFC, there are very few MMA fans that are wrestling fans if that makes sense. Those people wouldn’t be buying your show anyway. The issue is that your fans have an alternative and every once in awhile there is a fight like Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen or Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson with a bit of pro wrestling involved that will satisfy the pro wrestling fan much more than John Cena vs. The Miz if offered the alternative.
This also plays into the other newsworthy portion of the call where Vince commented on storylines. Vince was asked about the current storylines. Guess what? He is a fan. Vince said he “believes that storylines are connecting better than at any other time in company history.” If he is referring to company history as the two or three week old new WWE, than he has a point, but to feed that line of crap to people who actually buy stock into your company is almost criminal. Even worse, if he does believe that than the WWE is worse off than anyone thought. Quite frankly he sounds as delusional as Dixie Carter when answering questions during her “shoot interview.”
I have watched pro wrestling for over thirty years and I can probably say that other than that period in the early-mid 1990s, I can’t ever recall worse booking and worse storylines in WWE history. Even more ridiculous, he says this on the same call when he reports that the buyrates for the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber shows were down this year as well as house show attendance for the first quarter. So your buyrates are down and yet your storylines are connecting better than at any other time in history?
Vince used The Miz and Alberto Del Rio as examples of this. Vince cited that The Miz was a preliminary guy on WrestleMania a year ago and was in the main-event this year, while Alberto was not even around. True, but that has nothing to do with the storylines connecting or not connecting. It comes down to the dollar and two pay-per-views declined in interest with The Miz as champion this year. Additionally, the Royal Rumble was practically promoted on the idea that Alberto would win and if that is the case than he isn’t a draw either. I get it and I understand you have to spin this stuff but don’t urinate on me and tell me it is raining.
Vince also told callers that the WWE will be producing two new live events. He said he is confident that he can find partners for these events. He never specifically said what those events were so your guess is as good as mine.
Vince toned down the rhetoric on the WWE name change a bit. He said that they have no plans to get away from their core product even with the name change. Personally and I said this weeks ago on the Still Real to Us podcast, I think the name change stuff is being way overblown. I could honestly care less whether they call it wrestling or fishing. It isn’t as if they are going to stop wrestling or do anything different than what they are doing now. Vince confirmed that on the call. It sounds like the name change really is just an opportunity to expand into the business of producing live events for other companies.
Overall I found it to be a more interesting call than some of the previous WWE investor calls. WrestleMania 27 numbers weren’t confirmed although it is believed that the company broke a million buys which was their goal since last year. The company has claimed in trade publications that the number is up 30% in North America and 15% worldwide.
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