Wrestler who made historical past opens Texas Fashion Wrestling

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Jaime Garcia became the first Corpus Christi High School wrestler to qualify for the UIL State Tournament in 2000. He recently opened his own wrestling club academy, Texas Style Wrestling.

He’s living his dream of training wrestling. “I’ve always wanted to start this program to give back to children and give them the opportunity to reach their potential in the sport,” said Garcia.

He has dozens of students aged four through high school. Many of them already have a head start in learning the “folk style” wrestling used in UIL competitions. Others just improve their technique.

“There was no certified club where the kids could train and develop their skills after the high school season ended in preparation for the next season,” said Garcia.

“Oh, it’s huge to come here,” said Carroll wrestler Ashton Keller. “This is the time when you can make great strides over your competition. It’s a great place to get better.”

“For me, I want to be a state champion, so it means more time to get there,” said veterans memorial wrestler Abigail Mendoza.

Garcia is still at the start at 40. He won a national tournament in Iowa two years ago and will compete in the US Open in Las Vegas in April.

Unbiased wrestling group raises cash for baby in want

HATTIESBURG, miss. (WDAM) – The Southern Wrestling Organization was hosting their main event show tonight, but tonight’s show was more than just wrestling.

The proceeds from today’s show went back to the Alexander family, whose child needs medical care after a terrible accident.

“You were aquaplaned and crashed under a school bus. He was operated on on his back and has pins and screws and bolts in his back, ”said SWO Commissioner Ricky Strickland. “I know how the man feels because I also had a back operation and it’s painful.”

“It was a great feeling to come out and perform for Alex,” said SWO Champion Mr. Smack’ems. “It’s a great feeling to come here and do a show for these people because it’s been a dream for me for many years. It’s a dream for a lot of kids out there. “

The audience was interactive and, above all, sold out. Magnolia State has teamed up to raise funds and make a child’s life a little bit easier.

“You are doing something good for the people who come to the show tonight and pay for the ticket. You’re helping a family, ”said SWO superstar MoonDog Stone. “You are helping people who really need something, and that in itself is a blessing.”

Further information on the SWO campaign can be found at their website.

Copyright 2021 WDAM. All rights reserved.

World Wrestling Leisure Inc (WWE) Q1 2021 Earnings Name Transcript

Image source: The Motley Fool.

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc (NYSE:WWE)
Q1 2021 Earnings Call
Apr 22, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Hello, and welcome to the webcast entitled WWE First Quarter Earnings. [Operator Instructions] We have just a few announcements before we begin. First, please use the question mark icon in the upper right hand corner of your web console for technical assistance. The option to enlarge slides is located to the right on your slides with the four arrows pointing in different directions. [Operator Instructions]

I will now turn the call over to Michael Weitz, SVP, Financial Planning and Investor Relations. Please go ahead, Michael.

Michael Weitz — Senior Vice President, Financial Planning and Investor Relations

Thank you, Lauren and good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to WWE’s first quarter 2021 earnings conference call. Leading today’s discussion are Vince McMahon, WWE’s Chairman and CEO; Nick Khan, WWE’s President and Chief Revenue Officer; Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s Chief Brand Officer; and Kristina Salen, WWE’s Chief Financial Officer. Their remarks will be followed by a Q&A session. We issued our first quarter earnings release this afternoon and have posted the release, our earnings presentation, and other supporting materials on our website.

Today’s discussion will include forward-looking statements. These statements reflect our current views, are based on various assumptions and are subject to risks and uncertainties disclosed in our SEC filings. Actual results may differ materially and undue reliance should not be placed on them. Additionally, the matters we will be discussing today may include non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliation of non-GAAP to GAAP information is set forth in our earnings release and presentation, which are available on our website. You should note that all comparisons are versus the year-ago quarter, unless otherwise described. Finally, as a reminder, today’s conference call is being recorded and the replay will be available on our website later this evening.

At this time, it’s my privilege to turn the call over to Vince.

Vincent K. McMahon — Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks. Thanks for joining us, everybody. Like every other form of entertainment, we’re sports. We’re coming out of COVID. At first, we were in survival mode, but we found a way. Once we felt secure, we then saw this as an opportunity too. We think the way we do business and open what, I call, a WWE treasure chest, the only way to do that the best management team in WWE history. We have that team, a team that’s innovative, drives revenue and as we organize our company in a far more efficient way to take advantage of new revenue streams, new online platforms, new consumer products, new content creation and new opportunities to expand our media rights portfolio on a global basis, I’m always excited about our business. I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited as I am now.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thank you, Vince. This is Nick Khan. First of all, thank you, everyone, so much for calling in. It’s going to be nice to speak with all of you again. Since our last earnings call, there have been significant developments in the media industry. We’d like to discuss them and how the economics of these deals signal to us, a marketplace that continues to put premium on live content. Additionally, we’d like to outline a number of new revenue streams we’ve identified in the recent corner — quarter, excuse me. I will end by providing an update on our expanding original programing slate, as well as giving you an update on our return to live events and touring.

Recent developments in media have been highlighted by the completion of new content distribution deals. First, as we discussed last earnings call, Amazon grabbed the Thursday Night NFL package. So we have no inside knowledge of this, we wouldn’t be shocked if Amazon was negotiating now, as we speak, to get that package on its air exclusively early. In terms of leads, both the NFL and NHL realized substantial increases in the rights fees for their license programs, demonstrating the continuing value of live content. The NFL saw a media rights increase of 79% even as linear ratings went down a little bit in recent season.

The NHL has already doubled its media rights AAV, having sold just over half of its package. In the case of the NHL, linear ratings are down about 25%. In this context, the NHL received tremendous credit for already doubling its AAV from $200 million to $400 million, with another package still available for sale in the marketplace. Our bet is that part of the package goes to a new suitor. These deals are indicative of where the media rights marketplace is and where it continues to head.

One of the big takeaways to us, if you look at these packages, is that the overwhelming majority of the media networks are paying to license both the linear rights as well as streaming rights. The days of splitting those rights appear to be over for the moment. Look at the NFL, which often sets the standard in media rights negotiations. Each media partner outside of Amazon paid a multiple of what they were previously paying for the rights to show the games on linear or digital or both.

It’s clear to us that these companies view live rights as meaningful subscription and retention programing for their OTT services. We are confident that our robust marketplace with interested buyers across broadcast cable and OTT positions our rights portfolio for long-term growth. We had an early case study in WWE delivering audiences for our partners’ streaming services a little over two weeks ago, when our premiere event, WrestleMania, was distributed for the first time exclusively on Peacock in the United States. We were thrilled with the result and our partners at Peacock were even happier. Stephanie will provide a more thorough update on these achievements from WrestleMania momentarily, but we couldn’t be more pleased with the first event.

The promotion from our partners at Fox and NBCU leading into it and the number of conversations we have engaged in subsequent for the Peacock partnership announcement. And coming off of the subscriber and viewership success of WrestleMania that was delivered to Peacock, we’re excited about possibly replicating the licensing of WWE’s network to potential streaming partners in key international territories. It’s a story we’re sharing with the international community as we introduced WWE Network to potential partners across the globe.

If you look at the success that we’re having with our Tencent deal in China, we’ve seen a 30 times increase in views across all platforms in China, since striking this deal, with 30% of that coming from the viewership on Tencent. We look at the success we continue to have in India and the United Kingdom, we’re excited to replicate that and to grow it further. Of course, content rights are not our only revenue focus, we’re always looking at new streams of revenue.

On April 10, our first day of WrestleMania, we dropped our first NFT, featuring iconic moments from the Undertaker’s legendary WWE career. Many of these sold out in seconds. We were thrilled with our first foray into this space. Considering our vast library of wholly owned intellectual property, look for more NFTs from us in the near future. In this quarter, we also made a key deal in the gambling space. Stephanie is going to provide background on that deal later as well.

As we continue to expand WWE’s brand beyond the ring, we remain focused on developing the slate of original programing from our WWE Studio. We’ve sold a multi-episode animated series to Crunchyroll, which, as all of you know, is now owned by Sony, Young rock, which we’ve talked about previously, chronicles the real life journey of Dwayne Johnson from childhood to WWE legend and beyond. They debuted on NBC and it’s doing significant business on NBC and with rears on USA and Peacock.

And last Sunday, the Stone Cold Steve Austin documentary was the highest-rated biography in 16 years on A&E. Our other show on A&E that night, WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures retained 79% of that lead end audience. There are seven more biographies featuring our superstars each Sunday for the next seven weeks. Again, all of these projects from sitcoms to unscripted to documentary to animate are produced or co-produced by us via our Studio. Last, as I mentioned earlier, stay tuned for our announcement showcasing our full-time return to live event touring.

To provide further perspective on our progress, allow me to turn this call over to my colleague, Stephanie McMahon.

Stephanie McMahon — Chief Brand Officer

Thank you, Nick. This year’s WrestleMania was historic for many reasons, attracting more than 50,000 fans, representing full capacity for the two-night event. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how amazing it felt to have the opportunity to stand on the stage, look out at the faces in the audience and hear their cheers.

From the superstars next to me to the people in the crowd to even maybe my father Vince McMahon, there wasn’t a dry eye as we all celebrated something much bigger than ourselves, the power of the lion. Last year’s WrestleMania with no fans at our performance centers went back to Raymond James Stadium with a full circle moment, providing a sense of hope for the future and where our signature then, now, forever became then, now, forever together.

It is because of this powerful fan base, what we call the WWE Universe that we were able to achieve record-breaking performances across all of our platforms, including reaching new audiences through our domestic streaming partner, NBCU’s Peacock. And a world went 52 days, we successfully launched our partnership with Peacock with cross-functional task forces responsible for assimilating meta data, transporting and formatting our most viewed content and creating marketing direct to consumer campaigns and one of the most comprehensive publicity plans we have ever had for WrestleMania.

One executive at Peacock described our process as a best-in-class example for how partnerships should work. The results with the most viewed live events in Peacock’s young history. The launch was supported by two integrated media campaigns executed across the Comcast, NBCU, Peacock and WWE portfolio.

WrestleMania media coverage increased 25% with over 500 individual new stories, representing 1.2 billion media impressions. Creatively, everything kicked off the Friday before with the WrestleMania addition of SmackDown on FOX, where Jey Uso won the esteemed Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair became the first African-American female superstars to main event WrestleMania. Pop star, Bebe Rexha, saying the national anthem and hip-hop star, Wale, rapped Big E down to the ring.

Grammy award winning artist Bad Bunny and YouTube influencer Logan Paul found themselves getting in on the action inside the ring. Bad Bunny’s performance received praise from ESPN, counting it as one of, if not, the most impressive showings by a celebrity in the ring. And apparently, a lot of people enjoyed seeing YouTube influencer Logan Paul gets stunned as he trended number two on Twitter and generated nearly 100 million impressions on social media alone.

WWE also secured a record 14 new and returning blue chip partners for WrestleMania, including Snickers as the presenting partner for the sixth consecutive year and presenting partner of the main event. Papa John’s Cricket Wireless, P&G’s Old Spice, Credit One Bank and DraftKings. DraftKings is now an official gaming partner of WWE, focusing on their signature free-to-play pools, which included placing some fun bets on main event matches in both nights of WrestleMania.

Video views during WrestleMania week across digital and social platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, hit 1.1 billion and 32 million hours of content were consumed, representing a 14% and 9% increase, respectively. WWE related content saw 115 million engagements and WrestleMania was also the world’s most social program, both nights of the weekend, delivering 71 Twitter trends.

As Nick mentioned, for the first time, we launched a series of NFTs, featuring the Undertaker at record-breaking WrestleMania weekend e-commerce sales and record merchandise per capita sales in stadiums. We also held more than 10 community activations throughout the week, including collaborating with the Mayor’s Office to customize our vaccination messaging for the local market, recognizing local community champions, teaming with FOX Sports to donate equipment to Special Olympics, Florida, and working with various organizations, including Feeding Tampa Bay to combat food and nutrition and security.

On USA Network, the following Night Raw delivered its best performance in the 18 to 49 demo in over a year and NXT’s debut on its New Night on Tuesday was up 29% in the 18 to 49 demo year-over-year. As we move toward our next streaming special, WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday, May 16, we are excited to build on our recent success, grow our audience through Peacock’s enhanced reach, align with Iconic franchises, such as the Olympics and the Super Bowl and continue to leverage Peacock sales and promotional teams.

Additionally, key brand metrics in the first quarter are as follows. TV viewership continued to remain stable, maintaining a trend that began when we transitioned out of the performance center and invested in WWE ThunderDome at the end of August. From that time to the end of this quarter, Raw ratings have held steady and SmackDown ratings increased 9%.

Notably, all Raw appearances featuring Bad Bunny showed an increase of 31% in the Hispanic persons 18 to 34 demo. And Bad Bunny’s total social impressions during the time of his story lines equaled nearly 700 million. Digital consumption increased 7% to 367 million hours. WWE’s flagship YouTube channel crossed 75 million subscribers and is now the fourth most viewed YouTube channel in the world.

WWE sales and sponsorship revenue increased 19%, excluding the loss of a large scale international event. As I mentioned on our last call, brands are looking for unique ways to reach their consumers. WWE is perfectly positioned to do just that with the ability to create customized content experiences and utilize WWE superstars that resonate with target audiences.

For example, the creation of our digital content series, Grit & Glory, for GM’s Chevy Silverado brand and the creation of a new superstar, the Night Panther and a first-ever campaign integration across multiple platforms to market the new scent from Old Spice. In our view, WWE is well positioned to continue to elevate our brand, grow our business and engage new and existing consumers across all media platforms.

And now, I’ll turn the call over to our CFO, Kristina Salen.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Stephanie, and hello to WWE shareholders. As Vince, Nick and Stephanie highlighted, transitioning WWE Network to Peacock, while launching WrestleMania with a live audience of 50,000 fans in attendance is a major accomplishment. I would add by the flexibility, speed and sheer brute force of will demonstrated by the WWE team, the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit on display was as strong as I’ve seen in my 25-plus years prior in the tech industry.

Today, I’ll discuss WWE’s financial performance, which underscores that spirit. As a reminder, all comparisons are versus the year ago quarter, unless I say otherwise. In the first quarter, WWE continued to manage a challenging environment. Total WWE revenue was $263.5 million, a decline of 9% due to the cancellation of live events, including a large scale international event and the associated loss of merchandise sales, all due to COVID-19. Despite this decline, adjusted OIBDA grew 9% to $83.9 million, reflecting the upfront recognition related to WWE’s licensing agreement and the decline in operating expenses that resulted from the absence of live events.

To review the first quarter performance in more detail, let’s turn to Slide 3 of the presentation, which shows revenue, operating income and adjusted OIBDA contribution by segment. Looking at the WWE media segment, adjusted OIBDA was $107 million, growing 4% as increased revenue and profit from WWE’s licensing agreement with Peacock, as well as increased revenue from the escalation of domestic core content rights fees more than offset the absence of a large scale international event.

During the quarter, we continue to produce Raw and SmackDown in our state-of-the-art environment, WWE ThunderDome, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Our operating results continue to be impacted by the year-over-year increase in production costs associated with bringing nearly 1,000 live virtual fans into our show, surrounded by pyrotechnics, laser displays and drone cameras, we did achieve some efficiency quarter-over-quarter.

With the April transition of WWE ThunderDome to Yuengling Center in Tampa Bay, we expect this investment will continue through at least the second quarter as it elevates the level of excitement and brings our fans back into the show. Despite a challenging environment, WWE continues to produce a significant amount of content, nearly 650 hours in the quarter across television streaming and social platforms. And as Nick described, we continue to develop our slate of original programing from our WWE Studios.

Now let’s turn to WWE’s live event business on Slide 5 of the presentation. Live events adjusted OIBDA was a loss of $4.3 million due to a 97% decline in live event revenue. These declines were due to the loss of ticket revenue, resulting from the cancellation of events. As we’ve said, we are delighted to have entertained ticketed fans and an audience of over 50,000 at WrestleMania a few weeks ago. We look forward to the highly anticipated return of regular ticketed events. However, predicting the pace of that return is challenging and as of this moment, we do not anticipate staging such events until at least the second half of 2021.

Looking at WWE’s consumer products segment on Slide 6 of the presentation, adjusted OIBDA was $6.7 million, growing 76% primarily due to higher royalties and profit from the sale of license video games, including strong sales for our mobile game portfolio. WWE also continues to introduce new products, leveraging a superstar talent brand and strong distribution partners. As examples of WWE’s continuing commitment to product innovation, WWE released three new championship title belts and a suite of branded products to commemorate Stone Cold Steve Austin’s 25 years at WWE. Also in the quarter, WWE continue to be the number one action figure sold at Walmart, where it continues to deliver exclusive products.

Now let’s turn to WWE’s overall cash generation as shown on Slide 7 of the presentation. In the first quarter, WWE generated approximately $54 million in free cash flow, which was down slightly. Improved operating performance and lower capital expenditures were offset by the timing of collections associated with network revenue. Notably, during the first quarter, we returned approximately $84 million of capital to shareholders, including $75 million in share repurchases and $9 million in dividends paid.

To date, more than $158 million of stock has been repurchased, representing approximately 32% of the authorization under our $500 million repurchase program. As of March 31, 2021, WWE held approximately $461 million in cash and short-term investments, which reflected the repayment of the remaining $100 million borrowed under WWE’s revolving credit facility. Accordingly, WWE estimates debt capacity under the revolving line of credit of $200 million.

And finally, a word on WWE’s business outlook. Last quarter, WWE issued guidance for 2021 adjusted OIBDA of $270 million to $305 million. This range of guidance reflects estimated revenue growth, driven by the impact of the Peacock transaction, the gradual ramp up of ticketed live events and large scale international events and the escalation of core content rights fees, offset by increased personnel and television production expenses. The company is not changing full-year guidance at this time. The guidance range is subject to risk over the remainder of the year, particularly related to the impact of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on the company’s ability to stage live events, including large scale international events.

Turning to WWE’s capital expenditures, as we mentioned last quarter, we anticipate increased spending on the company’s new headquarters, as we restart this project in the second half of 2021. For 2021, we’ve estimated total capital expenditures of $65 million to $85 million to begin construction, as well as to enhance WWE’s technology infrastructure. We’re in the process of reevaluating the headquarter project and will provide further guidance on future capital expenditures when that work is completed.

For the second quarter of 2021, we estimate adjusted OIBDA will decline as incremental profits from Peacock and the escalation of content rights fees are more than offset by increased production, personnel and other operating costs. As a reminder, the year-over-year rise in television production costs reflects the impact of our investment in WWE ThunderDome relative to the lower cost of producing content from our training facility, as we did exclusively in the second quarter of last year.

As the timing and rate of returning ticketed audiences to WWE’s live events remain subject to uncertainties, we are not reinstating more specific quarterly guidance at this time. In the first quarter, WWE generated solid financial results as we executed on key strategic objectives. As Vince, Nick and Stephanie mentioned, we believe we can continue to innovate, enhancing our fan engagement, driving the value of our content and developing new products and markets, as well as cultivating new partnerships. We look forward to sharing our progress on these initiatives with you all.

That concludes our remarks, and I will turn it now back to Michael.

Michael Weitz — Senior Vice President, Financial Planning and Investor Relations

Thank you, Kristina. Lauren, please open the lines for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from Curry Baker with Guggenheim Securities.

Curry Baker — Guggenheim Securities — Analyst

Hey, good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for the questions. My first one is on the sponsorship front for Nick. I think sponsorship scenario where WWE’s historically under monetized relative to other live sports. First, can you maybe talk about the inventory that’s tied into the Peacock deal on the sponsorship side and the strategic upside you see partnering with NBCU’s team there? And then secondly, more of a higher level look at sponsorship. Can you maybe size the opportunity you see over the next couple of years and take us through your strategy to more fully monetize that inventory?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Curry, absolutely, thanks for the question. I’m going to tag in Stephanie to help answer that question, and I’ll supplement it if anything needs to be supplemented, if that’s OK by you.

Stephanie McMahon — Chief Brand Officer

Great. So Curry, thank you for the question. We absolutely see that the same thing that you see and there is tremendous potential and upside in terms of sponsorship, particularly as it relates to mirroring what has been so successful with the sports leagues, added on to our ability to create this custom content, all of our superstars who are influencers in and of themselves and the fact that WWE owns all of our intellectual property. So there is an ease of engaging and doing business with us that doesn’t exist in other leagues or entertainment media.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

The second part of that, Curry, this is Nick, as it relates to the relationship with Peacock, we’re going to be selling it with them. So we’re getting all of those ducks in a row, obviously, launching the product on Peacock was the priority. Now that both sides are happy with that launch, the focus is on further monetizing it, so we’re deep in those conversations now.

Curry Baker — Guggenheim Securities — Analyst

Okay. Thanks. That’s helpful. And then maybe just one final one on the ratings front, shifting focus a little bit. There’s obviously pressure on the linear ratings for both Raw and SmackDown. Can you maybe talk to us about the lift you expect in the back half as you return to a more normal product with fans? We obviously saw a bit of a lift when you move to the ThunderDome format last year. Is there any way to think about that? And then I guess secondarily, is there anything you guys are doing new on the story line front or from a talent perspective that you also think might reenergize the fan base and television ratings as we move through the rest of the year? Thanks.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

We have a four question limit per person. Let us report Curry, I’m teasing you. Couple of things. How we looked at ratings is how we think all the buyers look at ratings. It’s the culmination of everything, linear, digital, streaming numbers, etc. Our numbers are robust, it’s no different than when we referenced the NHL and NFL earlier or on the last call, that we all had together, there is a challenge in linear content for everybody. Eyeballs are going away from it. Think about how you watch your own content yourself, how often are you watching on your phone? How often are you watching it on some sort of Apple TV-like device? Its easy.

So we are there, when we launched the WWE Network in 2014, candidly, we saw that, when we did the Peacock deal a few months ago or finalized that, we saw it then as well. As it relates to live events, that always matters to us. The fans are our fourth wall, if you will. We know immediately from them what’s working and what’s not working. The ThunderDome was a phenomenal creation by the creative team here, but to get live fans back and to get our performers in front of them, we yearn for that as much as our performers do, and we think it’s going to have a direct impact on all parts of our business in an overwhelmingly positive way.

Curry Baker — Guggenheim Securities — Analyst

Okay. Thanks for the question.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thank you for the 14 questions. Appreciate it.

Operator

Our next question comes from Brandon Ross with LightShed Partners.

Brandon Ross — LightShed Partners — Analyst

I think I need to amp up the number of questions I was going to ask to compete with Curry, So let’s say, first I wanted to get more color on the traction on Peacock, which from the sounds of it appears to be expanding your reach. I think you said record viewership of WrestleMania, any way you can size that for us compared to last year on the network?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Absolutely. Brandon, we know you always come in with 20 to 30 questions, so we’re going to fine, we love it, and we thank you for that. So a couple of things. Our partners at Peacock have asked us not to do that. What we can tell you is that as you guys know in the content business, when you wake up on Monday morning after the two nights, as we did to phone calls and emails from Peacock and NBCUniversal.

It usually means they’re thrilled. When you don’t hear from them is when there is a problem. So fortunately, for us, a great number of us here heard from them Sunday night, Monday morning, how thrilled they were with the content and how the content delivered for them. So we’re excited about everything that can happen, and yes, expanding the fan base was one of the key reasons why we did that deal.

Brandon Ross — LightShed Partners — Analyst

Awesome. And on NXT, just wanted to ask about the move of nights strategically, how did you weigh the pluses and minuses of that move? I guess, it appears that AEW is reaching record viewership probably because of the move was that in the consideration set. Do you think about them, do you care?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Honestly, everything is competition for everything. The movies are competition, people sitting and deciding just the textile night is our competition. All we’re focused on is attracting eyeballs to our content. So part of the reason for the move to choose the night, the last time we were all here, we were specifically asked about well, what about the NHL and the impact of Wednesdays would be NHL on your content NXT on Wednesday nights in particular.

It’s our belief that NBC and the NHL are not going to continue to be in business together, that was our belief months ago. So that had absolutely nothing to do with our decision-making process. If you look at the efficiencies of Sunday night pay-per-views, Monday Night Raw and Tuesday night NXT, it made sense for us for myriad reasons to do consecutive nights obviously Sunday night is a 15 to 20 time premium event — excuse me, premium event type of thing, but those efficiencies to us is what really drove it. We’re pleased with the increase in NXT ratings and not focused on any one other than ourselves.

Brandon Ross — LightShed Partners — Analyst

Great. And then I guess you gave a little bit of your opinion on where the NHL rights might wind up, talk to about Amazon getting Thursday night earlier. Can you just broadly give us some color on what you’re seeing out there in terms of other suitors in the digital universe beside Amazon’s appetite for sports content? Are there a bunch of players? Is there a real interest outside of Amazon?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

We think Apple TV is readying for something. They’ve come close on a number of live events. They haven’t decided to go all-in yet. So we’re looking for them to see what their moves are going to be. It’s not just the digital companies and I know your company yesterday, there was an article about a conference you guys were at, where you said hey — not you specifically, but one of your partners, hey, look at these big tech companies coming in. Those are the behemoths, we agree with you, to Disney’s credit to Comcast’s credit for the credit of others, they saw it, maybe a moment in time late, but they saw it. So we think they are going to be significant competitors for different premium content rights for everybody. And what we know is live matters and that’s what we do.

Brandon Ross — LightShed Partners — Analyst

Great. Thank you so much.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thank you.

Operator

We’ll take our next question from Laura Martin with Needham & Company.

Laura Martin — Needham & Company — Analyst

Can you guys hear me OK?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Yes.

Laura Martin — Needham & Company — Analyst

Okay. Great. So maybe sticking to that one and building on that, maybe I have this wrong, but my understanding of the way your rights are currently structured is you can’t actually sell anything to anybody, including Apple or Amazon for three or four years. Do I have that wrong? Is there something you guys could actually monetize over the next three-year investor trendline?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

There is so much, and we appreciate you asking the question. Number one, it’s part of the reason why our focus is so international based right now. In terms of the existing content in the United States, yes, that is licensed through October of 2025 on Raw and SmackDown. In terms of new content, that is not. In terms of licensing that existing content and the WWE Network internationally, that is what we are deeply involved in right now. So a lot of upside in that, obviously, it’s a good time in our opinion, to be a seller of these rights, and we think the proof will be in the pudding on that in the not too distant future.

Laura Martin — Needham & Company — Analyst

Okay. Very helpful. Thank you. And then Kristina, maybe one for you. You’re showing on Slide 2 maybe that EBITDA grew about 9%, but it was like because we didn’t have the Saudi events and we estimate, you show the wide revenue there. We estimate it’s got like 50% to 60% margins. Really is the underlying operating power of these assets closer to 23% growth, which manage your operating income because we add back another $12 million for the lost Saudi event which shouldn’t really be, what I would call, a detrimentally operating cash flow power of these assets, is that fair?

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

I think what’s really understand in terms of what’s driving our adjusted OIBDA growth of 9% is to understand the accounting recognition for the delivery of both content in subscribers in our Peacock deal. That’s very high incremental margin revenue. And as we discussed before, that was one time in the quarter. The live event worsened as we discussed, was down — revenue was down 97%, and we booked an adjusted OIBDA loss of $4.3 million, so it’s not just the loss of a large international event, but it’s the absence of all live events in the quarter that was a downdraft on adjusted OIBDA.

Laura Martin — Needham & Company — Analyst

Perfect. That’s super helpful. Thank you, Kristina.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

You’re welcome, Laura.

Laura Martin — Needham & Company — Analyst

That’s it. Thanks.

Operator

Our next question comes from Eric Katz with Wolfe Research.

Eric Katz — Wolfe Research — Analyst

Hey, good afternoon, everyone. Thank you. I actually like to piggyback a little bit of Laura’s question, maybe focusing more on expenses in the media segment. I heard some of your comments around the moving pieces for opex. I was hoping you can maybe unpack that a bit more for Q1 and into Q2 because media costs were down about $15 million year-over-year.

And I guess, it’s tough to reconcile the loss of the international event. I think Peacock, I think you had furloughed workers back and you’re investing in ThunderDome. So I understand you’re not quantifying, but is there anything you could maybe share qualitatively to think through the margins or flow through, because I think the expectation is that on this be the full year guide maybe should have gone up?

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Eric. Yes, absolutely, I’ll walk you through that. Again, to understand, I’ll take the last question first. Why didn’t we raise our guidance? It’s really because any — the quarter performance was driven by the accounting for the Peacock transaction, the one-time accounting for the delivery of subscribers and delivery of content. Indeed, there was very little licensing fee revenue related to Peacock in the quarter because we delivered all of these assets on marketing fees.

So the licensing fee revenue in the quarter was really represented the last two weeks or so of March. When we move into the second quarter, we’ll see the first full quarter of Peacock licensing fee revenue, and we won’t see the one-time valuation of our subscription — and of our subscribers and content delivery. So that’s the Peacock portion of network and media.

To understand the opex, you’re absolutely right. What we’ve highlighted in our guidance is that increases in TV production and personnel are an important thing to consider when forecasting 2021 adjusted OIBDA. Now year-over-year, in the first quarter, production expenses as we discussed TV production on a per episode basis, we discussed last quarter, were up considerably 30% year-over-year.

What we’re really excited about in the second quarter is while they’re up — sorry, in the first quarter, while they’re up year-over-year, quarter-over-quarter we were able to obtain certain efficiencies really around our virtual fan technology, but also generally around operating expenses and that’s just a testament to us constantly learning, constantly innovating. And as we move into the second quarter of this year, we think, again, quarter-over-quarter, per episode TV production costs will be down versus first quarter.

And this is a big but, Eric, when you think of the second quarter of 2021 versus second quarter of 2020, remember for the entirety of last year in the second quarter, we were in our training facility. And the per episode costs of our training facility and remember that was the high of COVID, the per episode costs in our training facility were remarkably lower than even steady state pre-COVID levels. So really second quarter is our toughest comparison from a TV production expense perspective.

Does that help you draw the story throughout these two quarters, Eric?

Eric Katz — Wolfe Research — Analyst

Yes, it definitely helps. Okay. And maybe just a follow-up on the touring plans. I guess one thing we’re trying to think through is, as you guys begin to tour, I guess, maybe in the second half, hopefully in the second half, would you continue to hold a residency, while you sort of phase in touring? Is it sort of going right into a 100%, I guess, maybe the decision-making process on once you actually start touring is it full bore or a phase in?

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

We haven’t yet decided what our trendlines will be for the summer, but we are very hopeful that we return to touring in the second half of this year and our hope is that we go to full touring, not that we retain kind of semi-permanent residency in one location and go half out, so to speak. Our guidance, just that you know, Eric, assumes that we go full touring in the second half of this year, which is what we disclosed when we talked about our guidance back in February. So going to half semi-permanent residency and half touring wouldn’t be the most ideal situation from a financial perspective, but also really just from a fan engagement perspective, we’re really looking forward to getting out on the road again.

Eric Katz — Wolfe Research — Analyst

Okay. Great. Thank you.

Operator

Next question comes from David Karnovsky with JP Morgan.

David Karnovsky — JP Morgan — Analyst

Thank you. Nick, I just wanted to follow up on your commentary to one of Brandon’s questions. With the increased demand coming from streaming for live content, do you see this as sort of a rising tide lifts all boats situation or will some sports like the NFL or even yourself with Peacock disproportionately benefit from this dynamic? And if that is the case, what factors do you think determine success or not here?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thanks, David. I think there’s a couple of things. The newer content, I don’t want to say the lower-tiered content, the newer content that’s not as known as we believe our content to be or certainly the NFL’s to be. There’s only so much money to go around. So somebody is going to be left holding the bag. So if you look at college football for example, the SEC is in great shape. The Big Ten is the next big rights package up. There’s going to be some challenges there even though it’s a major conference because they didn’t perform for part of the season, that always makes it tricky.

If you look at all the conferences outside of that, I’d look for some sort of consolidation school wise or conference wise to happen, and you look at the other folks out there, some businesses are unfortunately going to go away. So the folks who have delivered eyeballs in the past are going to benefit from it. The folks who are trying to prove that they can deliver eyeballs, it’s going to be challenging.

David Karnovsky — JP Morgan — Analyst

Great. That was really helpful color. And then maybe just separate topic, e-commerce has had four really strong quarters since the pandemic started. Just wondering how much you attribute that to a mix shift in venue merchandise and zero versus kind of actions you’ve taken drive higher online sales? Just want to get a sense for how sustainable for the next strengthen WWE shoppers?

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Dave. I’ll take that question. I think that we’ve made a lot of effort to really take advantage of the trends and bring customers to WWE Shop permanently. The first thing that comes to mind is title belts and the number of — we launched three new title belts just in this quarter, a similar number last quarter. What also comes to mind is the launch of Legends and creating products and merchandise for our fans who are so enthusiastic about historical WWE Superstars. So we haven’t just been sitting on our heels and letting this wave come to us. We’ve been doing a lot to get folks to come and stay.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

I think I could add to that, if that’s OK, David. The brick-and-mortar business, as we all know, has probably changed forever or at least for the foreseeable future. The e-commerce business is going to continue to grow. One part of the brick-and-mortar business, that we are bullish about, is the live event business, where we do sell a lot of our merchandise, which we have not had in over a year. So if you look at e-commerce, if that stays robust, we believe that it will and the return to live events, where people can buy our products, we are quite bullish on it.

David Karnovsky — JP Morgan — Analyst

Great. Thank you, Nick.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Ben Swinburne with Morgan Stanley.

Ben Swinburne — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Thanks, and congratulations on WrestleMania and executing on that. I’m sure that was a tremendous experience to be at, so congrats.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thank you.

Ben Swinburne — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

I wanted to ask — I promise I’ll limit myself to two questions. I just wanted to ask Kristina on Peacock, if at this point or in the first quarter, did we see all the revenue recognition associated with the delivery of I guess what we call one-time assets? Is that done or is there more in Q2? And then I think it was Nick who mentioned NFTs it in the prepared remarks, I know this is very early days, but could you just talk about what you think the opportunity is there? How meaningful that might be? And what you guys are doing to try to maximize that right now? I know it’s early.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

The short answer to your first question, Ben, is that, yes, it’s largely done. We’ll recognize some one-time content around the delivery of marquee-free premiere shows like for example WrestleMania in the second quarter or SummerSlam in the third quarter, but those won’t let be anything like the size of what we recognized in the first quarter.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

And Ben, I can jump in on the second part of that first to your precursor statement on WrestleMania, we remain undefeated against the weather for our outdoor stadiums minus a 10-minute delay on night one Saturday this year, but we are happy to do the event in Tampa and to deliver for our partners down there. In terms of the NFTs, look, if you look at what Vince set up with WWE years ago, to own all of the intellectual property, to own the overwhelming majority of the character rights, that business is going to be something that we are in long term.

So we’re excited to get our first one up for WrestleMania. I think our Silver tier there were 100 limited Undertaker cards, those 100 cards that we sold out in 35 seconds. So we want to make sure that we’re there for our fans as these are the baseball cards of the digital world as you know. So we’re there, we’re going to continue to be there, and we have a plan in place that we’re really excited about.

Ben Swinburne — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Vasily Karasyov with Cannonball Research.

Vasily Karasyov — Cannonball Research — Analyst

Thank you. Good afternoon. Before the pandemic, you talked about your plans to invest overseas into local content production, training centers, developing local talent, etc. So can I ask you to talk about whether your plans changed, given the terms on which you renewed the international rights contracts, the impact of COVID and what’s going on with it? How your strategy is developing domestically in terms of licensing versus WWE Network? And then if you could talk a little bit about how we will see that flowing through the P&L, your international strategy? Thank you.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Sure. So the first part of that, Vasily, no, our plans have not changed, they’ve simply been delayed by COVID. So even during COVID, what we did with our partners, and we discussed this the last earnings call. We did a show for our partners, Sony in India, featuring up and coming Indian talent against some of our current Superstars. That product, which we call Superstar Spectacle delivered a 5 times rating compared to our normal high ratings in India.

Again, based on talent that candidly, we don’t believe the Indian fans have heard of and that the American fans have not heard of yet. So we were thrilled to be able to pull that off. We did that one in Florida, as you know very, very difficult with international travel right now, very difficult to go to international booms right now in terms of performance centers, it’s also part of the plan. But like many things just paused by COVID and hopefully roll out a bit soon, certainly seems like it’s heading that way.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

And to answer the modeling question, I think we’re really fortunate in that we’re international without even trying. I mean that sarcastically, there’s so much effort going around, but it doesn’t require a significant amount of capex or opex to take advantage of the global reach of WWE brands. And indeed, the demand for our global brand like WWE is so strong that we launched the partners and Nick referenced our partner in India, we have partnership in the UK. And so we look around the world for those partners to help us deepen our relationship in specific regions and countries and also help us co-invest smartly in local content, local talent and local opportunities.

Vasily Karasyov — Cannonball Research — Analyst

Thank you very much.

Operator

Our next question comes from David Beckel with Berenberg Capital Markets.

David Beckel — Berenberg Capital Markets — Analyst

Hey, thanks so much for the question. Just wanted to touch back on Peacock and the sponsorship arrangement, acknowledging there is probably some parts of the deal you can’t really talk too much about. But I’m curious if you can just fill us in on some of the broad strokes. Does the partnership, does that pertain mostly to new deals that have not yet been struck? And to what extent across your properties would the partnership apply? And then I have a follow-up.

Stephanie McMahon — Chief Brand Officer

Certainly. I’ll take that, David. This is Stephanie. So in terms of sponsorship working with Peacock, basically anything that you’ll see that will air on Peacock in terms of sponsorship, we are working with them. There is a lot of white space, if you will, as was recognized I think in the first question around WrestleMania, around all of our major properties and when you’re dealing with teams who have regularly sold the likes of the Olympics and the Super Bowl, you’re working with really top notch team, who will provide us opportunities that we have not had in the past.

David Beckel — Berenberg Capital Markets — Analyst

Great. Thanks for that color. I appreciate it. And just more of a high level one, and actually sort of piggybacking on the last question. A question we get from investors a lot is sort of longer-term thinking, how you approach the investment process, obviously, there are lots of areas you can invest in, and you also have a great degree of certainty on the top line, two-thirds or more of your revenue sort of contracting going forward. So I’m just curious how you’re thinking about the level of investment. Do you think about it as a percentage of revenue, incremental revenue over the coming years or is it less structured than that?

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

So I think what you can appreciate about our business model, David, is in a normal environment, we are a high incremental margin business, which throws off nice cash flow. And as we’ve discussed, all of these wonderful innovation just in the quarter, whether it was NFTs, it’s the deal with DraftKings, the Peacock integration, none of it required any significant amount of opex or capex on our part. So we’re very — when we think about new opportunities, it’s not about us having to go out and steal this, so it can happen. It’s about us going out and harvesting what’s there or optimizing what’s already there.

It’s not to say that there aren’t opportunities to invest. We’ve highlighted, for example, that this coming year in 2021, we’ll spend about somewhere between $60 million to $85 million in capex largely on our new HQ, which we’ve delayed now more than a year, it’ll be two years delayed by the time we move in and ongoing technology infrastructure improvements that you’d expect every couple of years at any innovative company. So we’re really fortunate in our business model, which enables us to maximize the opportunity for the awesome WWE Universe.

Michael Weitz — Senior Vice President, Financial Planning and Investor Relations

Thanks, Kristina. For our analysts on the line for warning our operator, we’re at the limit of this meeting, we have time for one more question. If we missed anybody, we’re happy to follow up with you offline.

Operator

We’ll take our next question from Steven Cahall with Wells Fargo.

Steven Cahall — Wells Fargo — Analyst

Thank you. Just a couple of maybe. First, Kristina, on the guidance, just wondering, did the Peacock delivery you had in the first quarter outperform your full year expectations for Peacock OIBDA por was this just the timing of how it fell in sort of March versus April? And sort of the same question on NXT, you’ve historically commented about a lot of AAVs of these long-term big rights deals in the US. So just curious how the AAV of NXT performed or was contracted based on what you sort of baked into the year for guidance?

And then second question, just you made a comment about non-fungible tokens. Any idea how much exploration you’ve done into this? It’s certainly a unique asset as you say for a public media company as WWE and any stock with crypto get the heck of a valuation these days? Thanks.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Steve. I’ll take the first part, and I’ll let Nick take the second part. And hopefully, you won’t say Bitcoin and Bitcoin bingo. What I would say is, thank you so much for the question about timing, and I’ll just underscore, you’re absolutely right. There is no change with regard to the impact of Peacock in our guidance on a full year basis. We’re really pulling forward a little bit of what we thought would hit in second quarter is hitting in first quarter. And that is exactly why we’re not increasing guidance overall for the year. So thank you for that question.

With regard to NXT, yes, NXT was expected obviously because the contract was up and it is within our guidance range that we provided. So there is no — we’re really pleased with that result, but there is nothing to update with regard to guidance on that front.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

And Steven, on the NFT part of that, I feel like at the start of the pandemic, we were at newer heights, like I think most others were. And now I would put our level of knowledge as high as I would hope our knowledge of the media space is proceeding. We know it and it doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of room to continue to learn, just like with everything else that we do. But we’re confident from where we sit on what we can deliver and what our audience is looking for.

Steven Cahall — Wells Fargo — Analyst

Thank you.

Michael Weitz — Senior Vice President, Financial Planning and Investor Relations

Thank you, everyone, for participating in the call today. We appreciate you listening. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Michael Weitz, or Michael Guido. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 60 minutes

Call participants:

Michael Weitz — Senior Vice President, Financial Planning and Investor Relations

Vincent K. McMahon — Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Stephanie McMahon — Chief Brand Officer

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Curry Baker — Guggenheim Securities — Analyst

Brandon Ross — LightShed Partners — Analyst

Laura Martin — Needham & Company — Analyst

Eric Katz — Wolfe Research — Analyst

David Karnovsky — JP Morgan — Analyst

Ben Swinburne — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Vasily Karasyov — Cannonball Research — Analyst

David Beckel — Berenberg Capital Markets — Analyst

Steven Cahall — Wells Fargo — Analyst

More WWE analysis

All earnings call transcripts


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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

If You Like EPS Progress Then Examine Out World Wrestling Leisure (NYSE:WWE) Earlier than It is Too Late

It is only natural that many investors, especially those new to the game, prefer to buy stocks in “sexy” stocks with a good history, even if those companies are losing money. But as Warren Buffett mused, “If you’ve been playing poker for half an hour and still don’t know who the patsy is, you are the patsy.” Too often, when buying story stocks like this, investors are the patsy.

In contrast, I prefer to spend time with companies like World Wrestling Entertainment ((NYSE: WWE), which not only has sales but also profits. Well, I’m not saying the stock is necessarily undervalued today; But I can’t shake the appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. While a well-funded business can suffer years of losses, it must ultimately make a profit or take its last breath unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer.

Check out our latest analysis for World Wrestling Entertainment

How fast is World Wrestling Entertainment growing?

In the long run, if you think the markets are even vaguely efficient, expect a company’s stock price to track earnings per share (EPS). This makes EPS growth an attractive quality for every company. For one thing, I’m overwhelmed by the fact that World Wrestling Entertainment has increased EPS by 58% per year for the past three years. This type of growth never lasts long, but like a shooting star, it is worth watching when it happens.

One way to examine a company’s growth is to examine how sales and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) are changing. This approach makes World Wrestling Entertainment look pretty good overall. Although sales are flat, EBIT margins improved from 12% to 23% last year. That’s really positive.

The table below shows how the company has grown its profits and sales over time. Click the table to see the exact numbers.

NYSE: WWE earnings and earnings history April 14, 2021

The trick as an investor is to find companies that will perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, you can check now and today our visualization of consensus analysts’ forecasts for World Wrestling Entertainment’s future EPS 100% free.

Are World Wrestling Entertainment Insiders Targeting All Shareholders?

Many consider high inside participation a strong sign of coordination between a company’s executives and common shareholders. We’re excited to announce that World Wrestling Entertainment insiders have a significant stake in the business. In fact, insiders are deeply invested in the business, with 41% of the company. I am always comforted by solid Insider Owners like this as it implies that those who run the company are genuinely motivated to create shareholder value. And their stake is extremely valuable at the current share price of $ 1.8 billion. That means they have a lot of their own capital that depends on the performance of the business!

It means a lot to see insiders invest in the business, but I wonder if the compensation policy is shareholder friendly. A brief analysis of the CEO’s compensation suggests that it is. For companies with a market cap between $ 2.0 billion and $ 6.4 billion, such as World Wrestling Entertainment, the average CEO compensation is $ 5.1 million.

World Wrestling Entertainment CEO received US $ 3.5 million in compensation for the year-end. That seems pretty reasonable, especially given the below median score for companies of similar size. CEO compensation levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when compensation is modest, it supports improved alignment between the CEO and common shareholders. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity in a broader sense.

Does World Wrestling Entertainment deserve a place on your watchlist?

World Wrestling Entertainment’s earnings per share growth has risen higher, like a mountain goat climbing the Alps. The sweetener is that insiders have a mountain of stocks and the CEO’s compensation is perfectly reasonable. The sharp rise in earnings could indicate good business momentum. World Wrestling Entertainment certainly meets some of my criteria, so I think it is probably worth further consideration. You still need to be aware of risks, for example – World Wrestling Entertainment has 1 warning sign We think you should be aware of this.

Of course, you can (sometimes) well buy stocks that don’t increase profits and insiders don’t buy stocks. But as a growth investor, I always enjoy looking at companies that do that to do have these functions. You can access it a free list of them here.

Please note that the insider transactions discussed in this article refer to reportable transactions in the relevant jurisdiction.

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Seminole Showdown Wrestling Raises Cash for Opioid Disaster

WrestleMania started in Tampa on Saturday, but a very different type of wrestling event drew crowds in Seminole County.

It’s more than just a show of force. It’s meant to show the community how Seminole County is battling something much bigger than the competition in this ring.

What you need to know

  • The wrestling event raised funds to help tackle the opioid crisis in the Seminole district
  • Longwood Mayor (and former WWE star) Matt Morgan attended
  • Sheriff: 109 people died of an opioid overdose in the county last year

The Seminole showdown Two Fighters – Raise money to help fight Central Florida’s opioid crisis.

“We know that people have turned to the substance of their choice on a greater level than ever before,” said Dennis Lemma, Seminole County Sheriff, that 109 people died of opioid overdoses in the last year alone.

“In all honesty, if you look at this epidemic, it is the problem that occurred before COVID-19. We knew three years ago that 19 people in the state of Florida lost their lives because they were addicted to opioids, and now the numbers are even higher. “

Lemma was on the sidelines of this game, but he was at the forefront of efforts to bring a Hope & Healing Center to town. It helps people recover from opioid addiction.

Tim Cook, CEO of AdventHealth in Seminole County, worked with Lemma on the project and formed an unusual public-private partnership aimed at serving anyone.

“There are places that care for people with addiction problems, but there really isn’t a place that is easy for everyone, regardless of your background and insurance,” said Cook.

“We knew we had one Hope and healing center It was so important to be right across from our correctional facility, which was home to a vulnerable population, “added Lemma.

One of those wrestlers – former WWE star and current Longwood Mayor Matt Morgan – is no stranger to opioids. He fought for his light once after surviving an overdose.

Now he is fighting to help others win this fight.

“Part of the challenge is the stigma,” Cook said. “When people are in crisis, they don’t know what to do and they don’t want to talk about it.” You don’t want people to know. So when someone like Matt shows up and others … people can be comfortable and others can hug them. And that’s how people find hope. “

The event was hosted by Leadership seminar.

The Hope and Healing Center officially opened in Sanford last month.

Sheridan’s Crow takes ‘funk’ fashion of wrestling to Iowa Western | Native Sports activities

SHERIDAN – The unmatched wrestling style of Sheridan High School senior Hayden Crow brought him to a 2020 state championship in the 170 pound weight class, a narrow 7-5 runner-up by decision in 2021, three all-state Awards and now the opportunity to co-compete with Iowa Western Community College.

Crow signed his national letter of intent on Wednesday to wrestle with the Reivers to achieve a lifelong goal and add his offensive counterstyle to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division I program starting this fall.

“I’ve dreamed about this since I was a little kid,” said Crow. “So to finally be able to sign my letter of intent and make it official, it’s pretty awesome.”

Bronc’s wrestling trainer Tyson Shatto met Crow 10 years ago when Shatto moved to Sheridan and always knew the senior was confident, charismatic and personable. Long-time friend and senior bronc wrestler Reese Osborne said not only could Crow make someone smile or laugh, but his work ethic was like no other. As with wrestlers, a competitor’s style is more suited to their personality, which is why Crow has had success with the “funk” style.

Shatto calls the offense in the counter-style “funny and conspicuous” and a “fanfare” style, which leads to more conspicuous profits, but also an increased risk in competition. Crow, a relatively new style of wrestling, mimicked the wrestlers he saw using technique when he was younger and developed his own unique take on the style.

The rare and unconventional nature of the “funk” style has led to failure throughout Crow’s wrestling career, but every defeat has led to improvement. And with his technique, Crow benefits from surprising his opponents to a certain extent.

“It’s unorthodox moves that some wrestlers aren’t used to,” Shatto said. “The benefit may be for this child, but it could be a disadvantage in development because you get yourself into trouble that could get you into trouble.”

Crow finished 17-2 as a junior in the 170-pound weight class in 2020, won the state championship and set a 34-3 record in the 2021 season. The senior proved authoritative on the Broncs’ score sheet. undefeated regular season 2020-21, the first program since the 1990/91 season.

Passionate about the sport, Crow always seeks to improve himself while supporting his younger brothers and the Broncs family. Shatto has seen Crow’s excitement for his teammates equal the excitement for himself after victories en route to Crow’s three All-State Honors from 2019-2021.

Just as Crow’s personality fits his wrestling style, Shatto said that Crow’s charisma and easy-going manner made him a natural leader on Sheridan’s team, as the Broncs senior class took pride in Cultural change of the program from individual to team-oriented.

Osborne was friends with Crow for 14 years and said that each senior contributed a certain quality to the overworked culture. Crow conveyed his determination and work ethic to his teammates by holding the Broncs accountable during practice and making sure they were doing the right thing.

Much like Shatto, Osborne calls Crows’ wrestling style “super unorthodox” and said it made it difficult for Crow to appear lazy on the mat at times.

“He’s going to come off the mat and I’m like, ‘Dude, did you even try it there?'” Osborne said. “And he says, ‘Yeah, I tried it there.’ And I say, “Well, you should make it look like you’re trying.”

Now Iowa Western best fits all of Crow’s contributions to a team and off the wrestling mat while he’s studying to become a chiropractor. Wrestling at the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference, the Reivers have world-class facilities and finished the 2019-20 season 9-4 in third place in a national tournament.

The 10-year program has made it into the top 10 at the national tournament for the past six years, and Crow hopes to continue that tradition with his unique style.

“I don’t think anyone in the world wrestles like me,” said Crow. “When I have such a different style, it’s good for me to bring it into one [wrestling] Room.”

World Wrestling Leisure (NYSE:WWE) Might Simply Take On Extra Debt

Some say that volatility, rather than debt, is the best way to view risk as an investor, but Warren Buffett famously said, “Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.” So it can be obvious that when thinking about how risky a particular stock is, that you need to consider debt because too much debt can sink a company. We can see that World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. ((NYSE: WWE) uses debt in his business. The real question, however, is whether these debts make the company risky.

When is debt dangerous?

Debt is a tool to help businesses grow. However, when a company is unable to pay off its lenders, it is at their mercy. Ultimately, if the company fails to meet its legal debt repayment obligations, shareholders cannot get away with anything. However, a more common (but still costly) occurrence is when a company has to issue stocks at bargain prices and permanently dilute shareholders in order to prop up its balance sheet. The benefit of debt, of course, is that it is often cheap capital, especially when it replaces dilution in a company that is able to reinvest with high returns. When considering how much debt a business is consuming, the first thing to do is to look at the cash and debt together.

Check out our latest analysis for World Wrestling Entertainment

What is World Wrestling Entertainment’s Indebtedness?

The image below, which you can click for more details, shows that World Wrestling Entertainment was in debt of $ 316.8 million in December 2020, down from $ 214.4 million in one year. However, the balance sheet shows that the company holds $ 593.4 million in cash, so it actually has $ 276.6 million net in cash.

NYSE: WWE Debt to Equity Story March 31, 2021

A look at World Wrestling Entertainment’s liabilities

According to its most recently reported balance sheet, World Wrestling Entertainment had liabilities of $ 496.3 million due within 12 months and liabilities of $ 412.3 million due beyond 12 months. This was offset by $ 593.4 million in cash and $ 52.0 million in receivables due within 12 months. So liabilities total $ 263.1 million more than cash and short-term receivables combined.

With publicly traded World Wrestling Entertainment shares valued at $ 4.37 billion, this level of debt is unlikely to pose a major threat. Nonetheless, it is clear that we should continue to monitor the balance sheet so that it does not deteriorate. Despite its remarkable liabilities, World Wrestling Entertainment has net cash, so it is fair to say that it does not have a heavy debt burden!

Additionally, World Wrestling Entertainment has increased EBIT by 84% over the past twelve months, and that growth will make it easier to manage its debt. When analyzing debt, the obvious starting point is the balance sheet. Above all, however, it is future profits that determine World Wrestling Entertainment’s ability to maintain a healthy balance sheet in the future. So if your focus is on the future, this is what you can check out free Analyst earnings forecast report.

After all, a business needs free cash flow to pay off debt. Accounting profits just don’t cut it. While World Wrestling Entertainment has net cash on its balance sheet, it’s still worth taking a look at its ability to convert earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) into free cash flow to understand how quickly it’s building that up (or undermines) cash balance. For the past three years, World Wrestling Entertainment has actually generated more free cash flow than EBIT. There is nothing like cash when it comes to staying in the good hands of your lenders.

Sum up

While it always makes sense to look at a company’s total debt, it is very comforting that World Wrestling Entertainment has net cash of $ 276.6 million. And it impressed us with free cash flow of $ 292 million, which is 108% of EBIT. We therefore do not consider World Wrestling Entertainment’s use of debt to be risky. There is no doubt that we learn the most about debt from the balance sheet. Ultimately, however, any business may have off-balance sheet risks. For example, we identified 1 warning sign for World Wrestling Entertainment you should be aware of that.

Ultimately, it’s often better to focus on companies that are net debt free. You have access our special list of such companies (all with a track record of earnings growth). It’s free.

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World Wrestling Leisure Inc (WWE) This autumn 2020 Earnings Name Transcript

Image source: The Motley Fool.

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc (NYSE:WWE)
Q4 2020 Earnings Call
Feb 4, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Hello and welcome to the webcast entitled WWE Fourth Quarter 2020 Earnings Conference. We have just a few announcements before we begin. [Operator Instructions]

I will now turn the call over to Michael Weitz, Senior Vice President, Financial Planning and Investor Relations. Please go ahead Michael.

Michael Weitz — Senior Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you and good morning, everyone. Welcome to WWE’s fourth quarter.

Vincent K. McMahon — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It might be in the afternoon, I’m not sure.

Michael Weitz — Senior Vice President, Investor Relations

Welcome to our fourth quarter earnings conference call. Leading today’s discussion are Vince McMahon, WWE’s Chairman and CEO; Nick Khan, WWE’s President and Chief Revenue Officer; Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s Chief Brand Officer; and Kristina Salen, WWE’s Chief Financial Officer. Their remarks will be followed by a Q&A session.

We issued our fourth quarter earnings release earlier this afternoon and have posted the release, our earnings presentation, and other supporting materials on our website.

Today’s discussion will include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements reflect our current views, are based on various assumptions and are subject to risks and uncertainties disclosed in our SEC filings. Actual results may differ materially and undue reliance should not be placed on them.

Additionally, the matters we will be discussing today may include non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliation of non-GAAP to GAAP information is set forth in our earnings release and presentation, which are available on our website — that all comparisons are versus the year-ago quarter unless otherwise described. [Operator Instructions] And the replay will be available on our website later this evening.

At this time, it’s my privilege to turn the call over to Vince.

Vincent K. McMahon — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

As you can see we’re generating some pretty strong financial results in a very challenging environment. We continue to produce content, we never missed a week in terms of producing content. It shows the flexibility and our commitment to our audience, which we will always have. We transitioned our flagship programs through our training facility. And then of course, to the Amway Center and then continued on to to what — to something we called the ThunderDome was a great name, any event, it’s a — most of you have seen it. And there’s nothing like it on television allows us to have live fans.

They’re just not in seats. They’re on screens. And some of the other things I do want to mention. Certainly, we — our multi-year agreement with NBC U is on the big box service. To my knowledge, I don’t think there’s any really big deal that’s been announced ever since the COVID stuff began. I really think that’s pretty extraordinary on their part, and definitely on our part as well.

And again, we just — this agreement is really awesome for our WWE fans, our W Universe, as we call it, it’s just gives them more — more value, not just the WWE 999, which is a great value for what we do. But then again, they for less money, they pick up our, our network, as well as all sorts of entertainment. So it’s great for our fans. I think that Nick and Stephanie and Kristina are going to provide a little more perspective on this development.

Looking ahead to 2021. Now, we expect to continue to manage the challenges of the COVID environment, and it continues on. We no doubt will expect a gradual return to ticketed audiences. And that is something that, sure, OK, we have live events, but live events make any money, you’re going to get 20% capacity, 30%, 50%, whereas you breakeven, and so best to be determined by anyone who’s in the live event business and hardly anyone has a handle on exactly when that’s going to happen.

Nonetheless, we are ready. We are the most flexible, adaptable media company in the world. We can turn something around as far as a live event in six weeks. And it just speaks to our ability to innovate as a media company and continue to, in this current environment, create long term value. So that’s generally pretty much where we are.

And, Nick, take it away.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thank you very much, Vince. And thank you everyone for calling in today. A week and a half ago, we made what we believe was a big announcement regarding WWE and Peacock. Starting on March 18, the entire WWE Network and its content will shift to Peacock in the United States. This includes WrestleMania, our vast library and all of our pay-per-view events, starting with Fastlane on March 21. As part of this partnership, WWE will maintain access to valuable audience data.

As we all know, Peacock is free to Comcast, Xfinity and Cox Cable customers. So watching Fastlane and subsequently WrestleMania on April 10 and 11th will be free to all of those consumers. Additionally, WWE Network will be available for $4.99 a month on the ad supported Peacock tier, which is half the price that Vince just mentioned, of $9.99 a month. The price we have been charging for WWE Network in the United States and will continue to be no upcharge of any kind, for any of our events. 499 price is the all in price for our great library and pay per view in ring action.

In addition to the office Saturday Night Live, Modern Family to dick wolf franchises, the English Premier League and the Olympic Games. I believe the last time we all spoke in October; we collectively discussed how the recent org structure changes at NBC, you and Disney are indicative of the fact that streaming had become a top priority for both companies. Many months in advance of those org structure changes, we started to engage in deep conversations with multiple buyers in the marketplace about a potential deal. Ultimately, we felt like the partnership with Peacock was the right move at the right time for our fans and shareholders.

It was Vince McMahon and WWE who were the first movers from closed circuit to pay per view. It was Vince and WWE that were the first movers out of pay per view and into the SVOD world in 2014. And WWE is now again the first mover from a stand-alone SVOD for partnering with a media conglomerate that has tremendous assets, reach and promotional power. With the Peacock deal closed domestically, our focus now shifts to international markets.

In addition to distributing our great domestic content internationally, our focus is to also develop content that is specifically targeted to fans in certain international territories. Two examples of this I’d like to discuss here today. First is India. We recently produced a two hour in ring special with our partner in India, Sony, which featured our developing Indian Superstars. The event, which premiered across Sony’s platforms on India’s Republic Day was available on Sony TEN one, Sony TEN three and Sony MAX, which have a combined reach of 50 million households, as well as on Sony’s streaming platform SonyLIV.

The event took place at the WWE ThunderDome to an all Indian virtual audience. It was announced in Hindi and English, and incorporated stunning and contemporary elements of Indian culture. The international music sensation known as Spinning Canvas, executed an amazing performance in honor of India’s national holiday. We saw record engagement on digital and social content around the event and learn just before this call that the event was viewed live by over 20 million people on the Sony platforms I just mentioned, that’s five times greater than our average weekly ratings for Raw and SmackDown in India, which are both already considered highly rated shows.

We await for live plus seven numbers, which will obviously substantially add to the total viewership number. We believe this event will further grow our product in India, which is already a robust WWE market and demonstrates our commitment to our partner, Sony, and our WWE fans in India. This event is a credit to Vince, Paul Levesque, otherwise known as Triple H and the entire creative and production team who put together this event during a pandemic, while also producing three to four other live in-ring shows a week. You can look forward to more from us in India along these lines.

The second area of our international focus is Latin America and localizing content tailored toward that region. A key part of our strategy is bringing in authentic talent who resonate with particular international markets. You may have seen or read that on the Royal Rumble pay-per-view this past Sunday, Puerto Rican Superstar Bad Bunny performed his new hit single Booker T, which is based on our WWE Hall of Fame Superstar of the same name. An internationally acclaimed recording artist, Bad Bunny’s songs were streamed on Spotify more than 8.3 billion times in 2020, helping to make him the most streamed artist in the world that year. Then low and behold, at the instigation of one of WWE’s up and coming Puerto Rican stars, Damian Priest, Bunny got physically involved later in the night, setting the stage for future storylines.

As of this past Wednesday, this collaboration has led to over 35 million total video views and 2.5 million engagements across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Total media impressions to date are nearly 170 million, and it was reported on by the top sports and entertainment properties ranging from ESPN to Rolling Stone to Telemundo to TMZ. And within 24 hours, the co-branded Bad Bunny WWE merchandise became the hottest selling drop we’ve had on record on our e-commerce platform, WWE Shop. An idea which was born simply from seeing the cover of the New York Times Sunday Magazine last October, has evolved into one of the most engaging pop culture collaborations in our history, with a targeted focus on the Latinx community.

Look for more of us in the — look for more of this, excuse me, in the LATAM region. In addition to our work in India and LATAM, we also closed new international deals with IV Media in Korea and Foxtel in Australia. And in China, we expanded our broadcast footprint, which already included iQiyi, Yoku and PP Sports by launching Raw on Tencent Video. Let’s also discuss some out of the ring opportunities and deals we are excited about as we continue to expand WWE’s brand Beyond The Ring. In terms of original programming from our WWE Studio, we continue to develop our slate. As you may know, WWE used to finance productions. We stopped doing that a few years ago.

Instead, we’re licensing content, both scripted and unscripted, to buyers in the marketplace. We are pleased at how quickly our portfolio has continued to grow. A few new developments include a multi episode unscripted series order created by and voiced by John Cena, which will be produced with WWE Studios. Additionally, we have closed the deal for WWE Studios to join the NBC show Young Rock, a long time, long time WWE family member, Dwayne Johnson, and my actual family member, my sister, Nahnatchka Khan. The show premieres on Tuesday, February 16, on NBC.

And finally, as you may be aware, we sent championship title belts to many of the major sports lead teams who have won championships. And in some cases, our title belts are more popular than their own trophy. You may have seen Lebron James hold up a WWE championship title belt after winning the NBA title. The Golden State Warriors have done the same as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers and many other teams. This led us to close a deal with a major sports league, where you will be seeing WWE championship title belts that will be made using the team logos of some of the most prominent pro sports franchises. It’s a real testament to the power of our brand.

At this point, I’d like to turn it over to my colleague and friend, Stephanie McMahon.

Stephanie McMahon — Chief Brand Officer

Thanks, Nick. One of the lessons Vince always taught me in business was to always be slightly ahead of the curve, not so far ahead that people don’t understand what you’re doing and certainly not behind. WWE was ahead of the curve with the advent of pay-per-view, bringing WrestleMania directly into people’s homes. Social media allowed one-to-one connection between our superstars and our fans. And when consumers started migrating to what was then a new short-form platform called YouTube, WWE became one of YouTube’s original paid content partners. When research showed our audience was 5 times more likely to consume online video, we cannibalized our pay-per-view business and launched the first live SVOD service of its kind, WWE network.

And now we’re ahead of the curve again, licensing WWE Network, our most premium content, to one of America’s premier streaming services, NBCU’s Peacock. But why now? Because the landscape has changed. COVID-19 and quarantine accelerated a behavioral viewership shift to streaming platforms. Streaming behemoths are investing heavily in technology and infrastructure in order to scale with operational efficiencies creating more flexible pricing options. And the biggest thing all of these providers have in common is the need for branded content. In order to be competitive, we need to pivot away from the technology necessary for an optimum user experience and allocate our resources against what we do best: content creation, production and storytelling.

And we get to do it with a trusted partner we have had for over 30 years, NBCU. Partnering with NBCU’s Peacock not only provides a greater value proposition for our current subscribers. It also allows us to deliver our most premium content to a significantly larger audience, including the 33 million people who have already signed up for the service. Additionally, this partnership gives greater access to NBCU’s best-in-class teams across sales, marketing and promotion as well as some of the most iconic franchises in the United States and around the world. Just imagine, with NBCU and Peacock, every three years is a Super Bowl, every two years is the Olympics, and every year is WrestleMania.

We believe more than ever in the power of our brand. In 2020, WWE’s television viewership held steady once we transitioned out of the Performance Center and invested in WWE ThunderDome. In fact, over the period from August 21 through year-end, which covers our move to the Amway Center and subsequently to Tropicana Field, Raw viewership is essentially unchanged and SmackDown viewership has increased 8% compared to the prior three-month period. During the fourth quarter, digital views increased an estimated 25% and hours consumed increased 44%, excluding the impact of geographical restrictions in India.

In 2020 as a whole, we saw a record 38 billion views and 1.4 billion hours consumed across our AVOD platforms, both representing a 10% increase year-over-year and an 11% increase in revenue. In order to reach new audiences, we maintained our pop culture strategy, bringing celebrities and influencers into our programming and casting WWE superstars outside of our content. In the quarter, Matthew McConaughey’s appearance in the ThunderDome and in other WWE content generated five million impressions. In fact, Jimmy Kimmel used the footage from the ThunderDome in an interview with Matthew just this week.

The biggest opportunity outside of WWE programming was bar none SmackDown women’s champion, Sasha Banks, appearing as a recurring character in Season two of Disney’s Mandalorian. And as Nick already highlighted, this past week, multi platinum artist and award-winning singer song writer Bad Bunny not only performed at the Royal Rumble, he got physically involved, diving off the top rope and then showed up again on Monday Night Raw the next night driving a Bugatti. I think it was the first time I’ve ever seen a Bugatti on Raw. Bad Bunny, one of the most recognized Latinx performers of our generation said being a WWE Superstar has always been his dream.

As a final measure of our brand strength, our advertising and sales revenue outpaced industry trends throughout the year. The quarter was highlighted by an increase in gaming partner activations, including Wargaming World of Tanks, Cyberpunk 2077, 2K Battlegrounds and Microsoft Gears. Additionally, we signed a multiyear partnership with our first banking partner, Credit One, as well as our first official beer partnership with Constellation Brands focusing on Victoria, Corona and Modelo. In fact, if you were watching the Royal Rumble on Sunday night, you would have seen WWE Superstar Rey Mysterio, a lucha legend, wearing the Victoria brand on his mask.

Rey also posted to a 3.6 million followers on Instagram in Spanish about how proud he was to partner with a brand as authentic to the Latino fan base as Victoria. Forbes, Complex and Sports Illustrated were just a few of the outlets that highlighted this integration. And 2021 is already off to a promising start, kicking off a multiyear partnership with cricket wireless as the presenting sponsor of the Royal Rumble, a custom content series with first-time partner GM for the rollout of their Silverado campaign and the announcement of Mars’ Snickers as the returning sponsor of WrestleMania for the sixth consecutive year.

WWE is the perfect partner as more and more brands look to engage consumers with customized content creation and authentic influencers. When you couple that with our over one billion followers across digital and social platforms as well as our broadcast, cable and streaming partners, Fox, USA and Peacock in the states, WWE is poised now more than ever to deliver scale, engagement and reach.

And now I’ll turn the call over to our Chief Financial Officer, Kristina Salen.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Stephanie, and hello to WWE shareholders. Today, I’ll review WWE’s financial performance, liquidity and capital structure and business outlook. As a reminder, all comparisons are versus the year ago quarter unless I say otherwise. For the year, WWE achieved record revenue and record profit. WWE’s adjusted OIBDA of $286.2 million was at the high end of our rescinded guidance and reflected nearly a 60% increase of more than $100 million. This growth was driven primarily by higher rights fees from WWE’s U.S. Distribution Agreement.

Throughout 2020, WWE managed a challenging environment, particularly for producers of live content. We estimate that WWE lost more than $90 million in revenue as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, primarily from the loss of ticket sales and the postponement of large-scale international events. WWE never went off the air. As shown on Page three of the presentation, we implemented short-term cost reductions and realized other cost savings that substantially offset these revenue losses. This was a remarkable achievement. But it does foreshadow a tough comparison for 2021.

In the fourth quarter, the absence of a large-scale international event contributed to a 50% or $56.4 million reduction in fourth quarter adjusted OIBDA, which also reflected lower advertising revenue and higher TV production costs. To review the fourth quarter performance in more detail, let’s turn to Page five of the presentation, which shows revenue, operating income and adjusted OIBDA contribution by segment. Looking at the WWE’s Media segment, adjusted OIBDA decreased 37% or approximately $44 million to $73 million, primarily due to the aforementioned event loss and, to a lesser extent, decreased advertising sales and higher production costs.

On December 11, we transitioned the WWE ThunderDome, our state-of-the-art environment for producing Raw and SmackDown to a temporary residency at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. In that stadium setting, we bring nearly 1,000 live virtual fans back to our show and surround them with pyrotechnics, laser displays, augmented reality and drone cameras. This staging increases production costs by approximately 25% per episode. We expect this investment to continue through at least the first half of 2021 as it brings a high level of excitement to our programs and most importantly, brings our fans back into the show.

Despite a challenging environment, WWE continued to produce a significant amount of content. More than 700 hours of programming in the quarter and more than 2,300 hours for the year across television, streaming and social and digital platforms. As we prepare to transition the WWE Network to Peacock, we continue to utilize on the growth in digital consumption, promoting content sampling and subscriptions with the free version of WWE Network. Since the pandemic began WWE subscriptions and consumption have been up meaningfully. In the fourth quarter, 2.2 million total viewers watched content across all tiers, representing a 40% increase and those viewers watched 35 million hours of content, which was 14% higher. Perhaps most importantly, average paid subscribers to the network increased 6% to 1.5 million.

Now let’s turn to WWE’s live event business on Page seven of the presentation. Adjusted OIBDA from Live Events declined by $4.9 million to a loss of $6.7 million due to a $26.7 million decline in Live Events revenue. These declines were due to the loss of ticket revenue resulting from the cancellation of events. Until mid-March, WWE held arena and stadium based events in front of ticketed audiences. During the fourth quarter, however, WWE held no ticketed events. We are delighted to have announced the return of WrestleMania to Tampa Bay on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11, 2021 and at Raymond James Stadium with ticket availability and safety protocols forthcoming.

However, it remains challenging to predict the pace at which we will return to a weekly live event schedule. We do not anticipate the staging of other ticketed events until at least the second half of 2021. Looking at WWE’s Consumer Products segment on Page eight of the presentation, adjusted OIBDA decreased $3.2 million to $9.1 million, primarily due to lower video game sales and the absence of venue merchandise sales. The drop in video game sales was anticipated as WWE and Take-Two had previously determined to delay the release of WWE’s franchise game until 2021. WWE continued to introduce new products, expand its video game portfolio and develop partnerships across product categories.

For example, during the quarter, WWE continued to build out its video game portfolio, launching WWE Undefeated and WWE Racing Showdown in partnership with Indway and JetSynthesys, respectively. As of year-end, WWE had 140 million installs across its games portfolio. Demonstrating our commitment to product innovation, WWE released 2,000 new products on its e-commerce platform including 18 new championship title cells, which generated category growth of more than 100% for the year. Now let’s turn to WWE’s overall cash generation as shown on Page nine of the presentation. In 2020, we generated approximately $292 million in free cash flow, an increase of $240 million.

The increase was driven by improved working capital, the timing of collections associated with large-scale international events, stronger operating performance and to a lesser extent, lower capital expenditures. As of December 31, 2020, WWE held $593 million in cash and short-term investments. This included $100 million borrowed under WWE’s revolving credit facility which was repaid just in January 2021. And finally, a word on WWE’s business outlook. Last week, we issued guidance for 2021 adjusted OIBDA. As previously indicated, WWE expects restrictions related to the spread of COVID-19, particularly related to ticketed live events to continue at least through the first half of 2021.

Additionally, we anticipate a significant year-over-year increase in expense due to continued higher TV production expenses at WWE’s ThunderDome as well as the return of employees from furlough. We estimate that WWE can achieve 2021 adjusted OIBDA of $270 million to $305 million as revenue growth driven by the Peacock transaction, the gradual ramp-up of ticketed live events, including large-scale international events, and the escalation of core content rights fees is offset by the increase in production and personnel expenses. In our view, the stated 2021 adjusted OIBDA guidance range will be approximately 15% to 20% higher without the ongoing impact of COVID-19, which includes the loss of ticket and merchandise sales of live events and the increased investment in production to further fan engagement.

Turning to WWE’s capital expenditures. In early 2020, and we deferred spending on the company’s new headquarters. Given increasing visibility regarding WWE’s projected performance and liquidity, we are planning to restart this project in the second half of ’21. For 2021, we estimate total capital expenditures of $65 million to $85 million, including funds to begin construction as well as funds to enhance WWE’s technology infrastructure. We are in the process of reevaluating the headquarters project, and we will provide further guidance on future capital expenditures when that work is completed. For the first quarter of 2021, we estimate adjusted OIBDA will decline as incremental profits from Peacock and higher content rights fees are more than offset by the absence of ticketed events, including a large-scale international event, and increased production costs.

The timing and rate of returning ticketed audiences to WWE’s Live Events remains subject to significant uncertainty. And as such, we are not reinstating more specific quarterly guidance at this time. And finally, I’d like to take a moment and talk about WWE’s financial outlook in a post-COVID world, whenever that may be. As analysts and investors will likely use the ex COVID range of 2021 adjusted OIBDA guidance to estimate future performance, I would note that 2022 and future years will be impacted by a variety of factors. Certainly, the contractual escalation of WWE’s core content rights fees will continue to be an important source of growth. However, other factors may temper that growth. Based on the accounting treatment of Peacock revenue, for example, we expect the highest incremental impact of the Peacock transaction to be booked in 2021.

Another key factor to note in the WWE post-COVID business model is that while TV production costs may decline somewhat in 2022 relative to 2021, costs will likely remain higher than in 2019. This is due to the shift in 2020 to a Monday/Friday production schedule compared to a Monday/Tuesday schedule previously. Incremental costs related to this change were masked in 2020 by residency in various locations, particularly in WWE’s own Performance Center in the early months of COVID. WWE continues to adapt its business to the changing environment.

As Vince, Nick and Stephanie indicated, we believe WWE can and will continue to innovate across all business lines as we execute our strategic objectives. We look forward to sharing progress on these initiatives with you all in the future.

And that concludes our prepared remarks, and I’ll turn it back to Michael for Q&A.

Michael Weitz — Senior Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you, Kristina. Carina, we’re ready now. Please open the lines for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] We’ll go ahead and take our first question from David Joyce with Barclays. Please go ahead.

David Joyce — Barclays — Analyst

Thank you very much. If you could please provide some more color on the cost side of the equation for the Peacock and WWE Network deal. If we could think about the phasing of cost savings and what kind of areas that will come in. Also, if you could talk about the sort of the onetime migration expenses and how that feeds into your guidance this year? Thank you.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Sure, David. It’s Kristina. Thank you for your question. I think from the perspective of migration costs, most of that will be in the first quarter. So it’s embedded in our guidance for both the first quarter and for the full year of 2021 and as are any potential savings from a technology perspective, but I would caution you from a technology perspective in that, I did highlight in my remarks, potential capital expenditures around technology infrastructure. At least, some of the technology savings will be offset by investments in systems that are long overdue. But it is all embedded in the 2021 guidance that we’ve provided.

David Joyce — Barclays — Analyst

All right. Thank you very much.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

You’re welcome.

Operator

We’ll go ahead and take our next question from Brandon Ross with LightShed Partners. Please go ahead.

Brandon Ross — LightShed Partners — Analyst

Hello. Thanks for taking the question. I was also hoping you could help us better understand the financial impact of the Peacock deal. And I’m thinking more on the revenue side, are there any potential revenue offsets there against the licensing deal besides obviously, subscriber revenue going away? And then maybe one related for Stephanie. I wanted to think about your sponsorship opportunity following the deal. As I assume, you’re giving network inventory to NBCU, what sponsorship — what’s your sponsorship going to look like in the wake of this deal, particularly around the large pay-per-view events? And how is their sales force going to help you with your other sponsorship ambitions?

Stephanie McMahon — Chief Brand Officer

Sure. We’ll work backwards. I’ll start with that last question, Brandon, and thank you for the question. We can’t really comment on specific deal terms, but Comcast NBCU is an industry leader, particularly in the sales and sponsorship space. And as we mentioned in the comments, never before have we been positioned alongside properties like the Olympics and Sunday Night Football, etc. So we’re looking forward to amplifying our current partnership and certainly working with NBCU and Peacock.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

And Brandon, it’s Kristina. Just to answer your question about the incremental revenue opportunity, I think, is ultimately what you were asking about. It is embedded in our guidance. We’re thinking about it from an incremental perspective. And you’re correct. The offset would be the loss of subscription revenue related to the network.

Brandon Ross — LightShed Partners — Analyst

Okay. And no other offsets besides that?

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

No.

Brandon Ross — LightShed Partners — Analyst

Okay. And then the other question I wanted to ask was about content flexibility given your broad relationship with NBCU. Is there the ability to perhaps move some higher profile content off of the pay-per-views and into Raw to help kind of bring Raw ratings back to growth?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

I can answer that, Brandon. This is Nick. Thank you for that part of the question. We’re always looking for ratings growth no matter how high the ratings are. It’s all about exceeding NBC’s expectations. So there is flexibility. If the two entities came together and decided to put certain content onto a linear platform, we have the ability to do that. Obviously, both parties, again, would have to agree to that. For now, we’re focused on helping Peacock grow their subscriber base, and we’re confident that we can do it.

Brandon Ross — LightShed Partners — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

We’ll take our next question from Laura Martin with Needham & Company.

Laura Martin — Needham & Company — Analyst

Hi there. Maybe one for Vince first. If we just sold the one million sub business in the US which helped cover the overhead cost of the network, why isn’t that running 50 different countries for 400,000 subs is a good business idea versus doing what you did in Canada, which is just selling the rights to Rogers or syndicating out the rights. How do you think about those two P&L offshoring for the Network?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

This is Nick. I can assist in answering that. Thank you. I tried to articulate some of our international plan. We have robust thoughts on WWE Network internationally as we did 12 to 24 months ago domestically. So again, we’re always looking at our existing partners in terms of growing our viewership, growing our audience. And that’s going to be one of our many focuses moving forward as it already is.

Laura Martin — Needham & Company — Analyst

Okay. And then my other one is for Kristina. You said here that EBITDA would have been — or OIBDA would have been 15% to 20% higher if you’ve been able to have live events and merch. But I thought one of the great learnings of going into lockdown was that EBITDA margins exploded once you didn’t have live because live sort of breaks even, and it’s great for revenue management, but it actually isn’t very profitable. So could you just walk us through like the longer the lockdown stays, the more EBITDA it seems like you have, not the other way around? What am I getting wrong in that equation?

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Hi Laura, thanks for your question.

Laura Martin — Needham & Company — Analyst

Hi.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

I think, ultimately, it’s looking at the TV production expense. So we’re spending incrementally to increase our fan engagement and keep the excitement and energy around shows that normally would be live and have ticketed audiences against them. So there’s not incremental revenue associated with the incremental spending that we’re doing in the production of Raw and SmackDown in Tropicana Field right now. So the degree to which we’re able to start bringing fans physically back into arenas and stadiums and getting them to buy tickets, buy merchandise will have a higher incremental margin than just spending money with no revenue against it at all.

Laura Martin — Needham & Company — Analyst

It’s so helpful. Thank you very much.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

You’re welcome.

Operator

We’ll take our next question from Curry Baker with Guggenheim. Please go ahead.

Curry Baker — Guggenheim — Analyst

I think my first one is for Nick. Can you maybe walk us through the key revenue opportunities from here now that the network deals done and most all the key TV rights agreements are done, let’s say, MENA. And I think in particular, maybe what the opportunity is for sponsorship, the TAM there, just given that it’s an area that WWE is historically under monetized then relative to other sports leagues?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thanks, Curry. A couple of things there. Our international plan, as I mentioned a few moments ago, is really just getting started. We’re confident where we are internationally. We’re also confident that there’s a lot of room for growth. So we’re looking at new revenue opportunities there. In terms of the sales and sponsorship element, as you may know, Stephanie took that over about six months or so ago. We’ve already seen a strong uptick in the results of that. We think with the NBCU partnership across it with WWE, you’re going to see more of that.

So we’re confident in those revenue opportunities. In terms of the scripted and unscripted television opportunities that I mentioned in the prepared remarks, we’re just getting started and are excited about a number of items in that arena. The championship title belt thing that I mentioned to you, that’s just with one of the major sports leagues. So obviously, we’re going to look to replicate that. Those sell at a decent price point and are a good source of revenue for the company now, and we believe something that can grow substantially in the future.

Curry Baker — Guggenheim — Analyst

Okay. And then my last one is for whoever wants to take it. I mean, one question I get the most from investors is, how will you guys reverse ratings trends? Aside from bands coming back hopefully later this year, which should help boost ratings. What else is the company doing to enhance the product and drive yours back to Raw and SmackDown?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

So a couple of things, Curry, this is Nick again. We don’t believe that we’ve lost eyeballs. We believe eyeballs tend to shift from linear to digital platforms. So if you look at even our Facebook numbers, which are significantly up the last six months or so, including the revenue against those numbers, we think the eyeballs are there. Like I said, we’re always looking to grow ratings. So now that we’re coming out of a competitive presidential race that a lot of people were focused on. We’re still all in the midst of a virus that a lot of people are focused on. We believe with the continued great in-ring product that the eyeballs are continuing to grow and will result in more linear eyeballs as some of the other stuff that I just mentioned passes. So we feel good about our position, and we think our network partners do as well.

Curry Baker — Guggenheim — Analyst

Okay. Thanks for the questions.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thank you.

Operator

We’ll take our next question from Ben Swinburne with Morgan Stanley.

Ben Swinburne — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Hi good afternnoon. Two questions, maybe for Nick. Interesting this Peacock deal, you mentioned or maybe Stephanie mentioned, that you were the company or WWE was the company that started this whole direct-to-consumer trend many years ago. And now all these companies are pouring into that space. I’m wondering if you think you’re going to see the rest of the industry sort of move in the direction you’ve moved in, sort of offloading the rights in a broader platform.

And also, are you giving anything up in this? I mean, direct-to-consumer and having relationships with your fans, obviously strategically important. I think you mentioned, Nick, that you guys are retaining data, so I’d love to hear more about that and how you think about maintaining those relationships in this new model? And then I don’t want to let Kristina down, so I’ll ask her an accounting question. Can you tell us anything about how the mechanics of this deal is going to work on the P&L over time? I’m just wondering, particularly on the pay-per-views, whether there’s going to be volatility we should be aware of or anything you can help us with? Thank you, guys.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thank you, Ben. I think there were like eight compound questions baked in very well done by you. We’ll talking about NBCU and Peacock first. If you look at the big media conglomerates, there’s not one that has the cable, which obviously, the pipes into homes, including broadband, the content, the theme parks and remove any company that has a satellite company. Again, we’re talking about broadband pipes. NBCU is unique in that way. It was sort of the right time to look at it and say, — even if you caught this tease a few weeks ago, on the Football Night in America, pre NFL — pregame NFL show going into their playoff game on Saturday prime time a few weeks ago.

They announced the next three locations of WrestleMania, including the upcoming April 10 and 11 in Tampa. Just that announcement on their linear platform combined, which what we thought was a very creative content output by Paul and Steph in terms of talking about the different cities we’re going to. During a football game, the whole thing went viral. It almost took over social media. And again, the NFL is the NFL, we’re not — certainly, it’s not for us to compare ourselves to them. But we feel great about how that worked.

It was a bit of a tease because the Peacock deal was already done, which is why they tagged that announcement with Raw coming up on Monday night. There’s going to be more of that. We are putting together our 2021 — finalizing our schedule in terms of pay-per-view premium events. Look for events to be piggyback onto big NBC events, where we’ll have that promotional power headed our way. It’s the first time ever that WWE has partnered with someone who has that sort of reach on these events. So we feel good about our chances. In terms of the financial part of it, I would turn that over to Kristina.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Ben, thanks for throwing me an accounting bone. But I’m really glad you brought it up because I think it’s an important thing for all of our analysts and investors to understand. Of course, you all have a lot of experience with content rights deals and the mechanics of them. And there’s two things, though, that I want to underscore here. First, I think in your question, Ben, there was an underlying assumption that there would be volatility around pay-per-views. Just so everyone understands, there is no upcharge around special content for WWE. This is one $4.99, you get everything, get our library, you get our pay-per-view, plus the amazing content coming out of Peacock as well. So there won’t be that kind of volatility.

The second thing I would say, and I touched on it briefly in my prepared remarks is that we’re still working through the accounting from the perspective of just making sure that it’s properly reviewed. But in any case, regardless, 2021 will be the biggest year in the deal from an incremental revenue and adjusted OIBDA perspective, because upon delivery of the deal, so to speak, upon the onset, we have to value the subscribers that we’re transferring over and we have to value any IP that we’re transferring over. And that will be all recognized in 2021. And then in 2022, you’ll have the regular revenue recognition of the ongoing deal. So hopefully, that’s enough geeking out on accounting for you to keep you busy.

Ben Swinburne — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Grett. Thank you very much everybody.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Ben, can I just tag that with one thing, if you’re still with us?

Ben Swinburne — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

I am, of course.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thank you. What I’d mention in terms of the power of broadcast, we don’t believe broadcast is going anywhere. If you look at our partners at Fox, they put together a pre Royal Rumble show for us, which did over one million viewers. We announced the 30th and 29th — I’m sorry, we announced the first and second people to enter into the rumble. All of that stuff matters. That Fox network platform, having them promote into SmackDown, it matters. So again, in terms of broadcast networks, we’re thrilled with Fox, and we’re thrilled with what NBC can do for us promotional wise. Thank you.

Operator

We’ll go ahead and take our next question from David Karnovsky with JPMorgan.

David Karnovsky — JPMorgan — Amalyst

Thanks for the question. Nick, I was wondering if you could discuss how you expect NBCU will evaluate the success of WWE content on Peacock. Since the Nielsen ratings, obviously, don’t apply just interested to think — how do you think the way factors like subscriber adds, advertising yield or maybe just the promotional value of having something like WrestleMania on there?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

So we think it always comes down — we refer to them as the 3Rs. Ratings, Relevancy and Revenue. Ratings in a subscriber base, obviously, based on subs; relevancy for a product like WrestleMania for them to be as excited as they are about it; and revenue, obviously, it’s a tremendous opportunity for them to sell against it on an ad supported tier at $4.99. So we always look at it by thinking about those 3Rs in terms of our partner satisfaction.

David Karnovsky — JPMorgan — Amalyst

Okay. And then just on a separate topic. Can you speak to how the shutdown of the NBC Sports Network and then the move of sports content over to USA potentially impacts Raw and NXT, either in terms of scheduling or just kind of the overall role that your content has had at that network. And with NXT, do you ever kind of consider moving any of that content over to Peacock, the weekly content?

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

We believe it has no impact on us, The departure of NBC Sports Network. I think we think what you’re seeing in the cable universe is going to be further consolidation. So we know that the bundle has now sort of been unbundled or a little exposed. So the networks that were propped up, and not as strong cable networks that were propped up by the stronger cable networks, like USA, but not as strong ones probably cease to exist across the board. So look for more content migration onto the stronger cable platforms, that there’ll be no effect on Raw or NXT.

David Karnovsky — JPMorgan — Amalyst

Thank you.

Operator

We’ll take our next question from David Beckel with Berenberg. Please go ahead.

David Beckel — Berenberg — Analyst

Great. Thanks so much for the question. I’ll start with the high level one. You talked a lot about the ongoing shift in viewing toward digital platforms and, of course, the Peacock deal really hits the nail on the head there. I’m wondering how this negotiation and this deal might influence future TV deals? Those are obviously, especially in the U.S., quite a ways away. A lot can change between now and then. Are you thinking about the way in which you might license Raw and SmackDown in the US any differently as a result of this deal, maybe taking that on an exclusive basis to a digital platform? And then I have a follow-up.

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Thanks, David. First of all, we’re always going to look to our incumbent partners to see what their plans are in the future and to make sure that those conversations happen first. We are open to all buyers. So I think it was the LightShed folks who had predicted that Thursday Night Football may go to Amazon exclusively for the first time and the exception on that exclusion is it may also be an NFL Network. But it wouldn’t be on a traditional broadcast network. We agree with that assessment. That’s obviously speculative on someone else’s property, but you see Amazon hovering around.

They tested Live out in the U.K. first with tennis. They then came and tested it out when Thursday Night Football digitally was on Twitter. They took that package and put it on Amazon and has done some interesting things with it. Obviously, there’s an executive change that we all learned about not too long ago. So we’ll see how that shakes out. But we’d like to think we have our finger on the pulse of what most of these buyers are looking for down the road, again, with a heavy emphasis on Fox and NBCUniversal to make sure that they’re taking care of.

David Beckel — Berenberg — Analyst

Great. Thanks. And just as a quick follow-up. Nick, you mentioned the 15% to 20% impact to EBITDA from the pandemic. I was wondering if you could maybe help us splice that a little bit in terms of how that’s comprised. What — or what portion of that is related to production costs versus the other impact you mentioned, which is the loss of ticket sales and merchandise?

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Thanks for the question. We haven’t broken it down publicly with regard to percentage impacts. But what we have said is we expect there to be a significant year-over-year increase in WWE’s expense base due to continued higher expenses associated with the production of Raw and SmackDown at Tropicana or any other facility like that post. We have said that our TV production expense is up 25% per episode. And we also pointed out that there’s also an impact of the return of employees from furlough, which won’t start to be a year-over-year comparison really until the second quarter of 2021.

And of course, the biggest X factor in our minds is the return of Live — ticketed live events and the pace at which they ramp, as Vince talked about in his opening remarks. What’s the capacity restriction going to be? How many stadiums are available to us across the United States in any given moment? Are we allowed to sell merchandise? All of these things are kind of up in the air right now. It’s anyone’s best guess in the live event business as to when and then as to how. So all of those are kind of impacting as we think about that 15% to 20% estimate of what we think that ongoing COVID impact is on our numbers for 2021.

Michael Weitz — Senior Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you, Kristina. We have time — I’m sorry, they have given the length of the call, we’re just going to take one more caller. Thank you.

Operator

We’ll go ahead and take our last question from Vasily Karasyov with Cannonball Research.

Vasily Karasyov — Cannonball Research — Analyst

Thank you. Good afternoon. I wanted to follow-up on Kristina’s point that the company should be looked at in terms of normalized earning power. So if we think back to Saudi Arabian events, can you help us understand the profitability of those events so that we can sort of run sensitivities. If I remember, we can figure out the revenue from the reported financials. But if — I think a couple of years ago, you spoke about the first event being more profitable than the second. So if you could just help us triangulate the EBITDA impact, that would be super helpful.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Sure. I think just looking at this most recent fourth quarter, we’ll give you a great baseline in terms of understanding what the absence of a large-scale international event has on — the impact that it has on our business. As we discussed in the fourth quarter, the absence of a large-scale international event contributed to a 50% or $56.4 million reduction in fourth quarter adjusted OIBDA, and that did also reflect lower advertising revenue and higher TV production costs. So we’re seeing it very starkly in this quarter just reported what the positive or when they come — when a large international event comes back to us, the positive impact that can have on our adjusted OIBDA.

Vasily Karasyov — Cannonball Research — Analyst

All right. A quick follow-up then. Do both of them have the same profitability profile? So if you have one in a year or two in a year, you just multiplied the positive impact by 2? Or the second one is less profitable? Because I think that was the case before.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

What I would say is it’s really — in talking about live events, we are in the hyper theoretical right now because, again, even talking about live events in the United States, it’s quite difficult to hypothesize what it will look like. Even in 2022, what some of the restrictions may be, but what I would say is comparing one event to another event in any given year, it depends on where it is, where it is within the country, what the expectations are around the show itself. There are so many factors that go into it that would just be a highly theoretical conversation.

Vasily Karasyov — Cannonball Research — Analyst

Thank you very much.

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Michael Weitz — Senior Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you, everybody. We appreciate you listening to the call today. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, Michael Weitz or Michael Guido, your contacts in Investor Relations. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 60 minutes

Call participants:

Michael Weitz — Senior Vice President, Investor Relations

Vincent K. McMahon — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Nick Khan — President and Chief Revenue Officer

Stephanie McMahon — Chief Brand Officer

Kristina Salen — Chief Financial Officer

David Joyce — Barclays — Analyst

Brandon Ross — LightShed Partners — Analyst

Laura Martin — Needham & Company — Analyst

Curry Baker — Guggenheim — Analyst

Ben Swinburne — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

David Karnovsky — JPMorgan — Amalyst

David Beckel — Berenberg — Analyst

Vasily Karasyov — Cannonball Research — Analyst

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