Highlights From WWE Conference Call Regarding Fox And NBCU Distribution Rights Deal

On Wednesday morning, WWE held a conference call about the media rights deals with NBCU and Fox. Smackdown has moved to the Fox network and Raw will stay with NBCU on the USA network. 

Michael Weiss introduces the purpose of the call which is to update investors on the effects of the deals. 

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George Barrios is introduced and he takes over the call at this point. Barrios says it has been a goal of WWE to increase the "monetization" of their product which has included the introduction of the WWE Network which he says doubled the pay-per-view revenue. Since 2014, sponsorships sales for WWE have tripled. The new deal with NBCU and Fox has increased the value of the WWE's United States distribution 3.6 times it's previous value. 

Barrios says WWE is expecting a "OIBDA" (operating income before depreciation and amortization) of  at least 200 million for 2019. 

Questions from media and investors begin the following are the highlights of those questions. 

- Digital rights are part of the deals with Fox and NBCU.

- WWE will continue to invest in data, direct to consumer products, and technology.

- Michelle Wilson says Fox and WWE have been in discussion about "additional promotional programming" 

- Barrios questions if there is a "exclusivity premium" where keeping Raw and Smackdown on the same network would be profitable. These deals with two networks will be an experiment to test that. 

- Barrios says WWE's brand is in the "best place it's ever been."  He credits the relationship with NBCU, ESPN covering WWE like a sport, and the digital presence of WWE. 

- Wilson says the strength of the WWE brand is improving with the increase in reality based shows like Total Bellas. 

- Wilson says WWE has looked into scripted drama and comedy as well. 

- There will be cross-promotion between NBCU and Fox for the two WWE shows. 

For more thorough coverage of the conference call check out Christopher Harrington 's analysis on FightfulWrestling.com. 

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