Shares of World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE: WWE) are down more than 14% following a disappointing earnings report Thursday. For the first three months of 2019, revenue fell 2.8% to USD 182.4 Million compared to USD 187.7 Million in 2018. The Company posted an operating loss of USD 6.8 Million, a harsh turnaround from its operating income of USD 21.8 Million the year prior. WWE is aiming to bring in revenue of USD 1 Billion in 2019.
Though the quarter overall was a financial flop due to poor merchandise sales and live-talent injuries, WWE’s largest event of the year notably outperformed. On April 7, WrestleMania broke the record for MetLife Stadium’s highest grossing entertainment event at USD 16.9 Million, attracting over 82,000 fans. WWE Network’s total subscriber count reached 2 million the day following WrestleMania.
The event featured for the first time an all-female match which unfortunately exposed a significant gender pay gap. WWE’s top female earners, Rhonda Rousey and Charlotte Flair, make USD 1.5 Million and USD 550,000 respectively. WWE men like Brock Lesner and John Cena earn upwards of USD 8.5 million.
“While engagement metrics over the past two quarters were impacted by Superstar absences, we believe they will improve as our talent return and we launch our new season following a successful WrestleMania. We remain excited about the future, particularly with our debut on Fox in October” said Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
WWE suffered the absences of star performers this quarter like Roman Reigns, who was battling cancer, Fandango, who suffered a shoulder injury, and Triple H, with a torn pectoral muscle.