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WWE Network Tops 2 Million Subscribers

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WWE is celebrating a monumental WrestleMania 34, along with a huge milestone for their WWE Network.

WWE announced that  the WWE Network has reached a record 2.12 million subscribers, 1.81 million of which are paid subscribers, up 9% from April 3rd, 2017.

Additionally, by generating $14.1M in revenue WrestleMania 34 was the highest grossing event in the history of New Orleans SuperDome, which packed 78,133 fans for the epic event.

“We expect to deliver record subscriber levels, revenue and Adjusted OIBDA in 2018,” said George Barrios, WWE Co-President. “WWE Network’s continued growth along with our massive reach across traditional television as well as digital and social platforms, reaffirms the effectiveness of our global, multi-platform content strategy.”

More can be found at their official website, but here are some notes:

WrestleMania Milestones

  • WrestleMania broke the record for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s highest grossing entertainment event at $14.1 million, as a sold-out crowd of 78,133 fans from all 50 states and 67 countries attended the event. As part of the week-long WrestleMania celebration, WWE hosts five consecutive nights of events at the Superdome and the Smoothie King Center
  • WWE Network subscribers viewed 25.2 million hours during WrestleMania Week or 14 hours per subscriber during the week. This compares to 22.5 million hours last year, a 12% year-over-year increase

WWE 2018 Perspective

Q1 2018: Based upon preliminary data, WWE Network attracted an average of approximately 1.56 million paid subscribers over the first quarter 2018, representing a 5% increase from the first-quarter 2017 average. The first quarter 2018 average was in-line with guidance of approximately 1.53 million.3

During the first quarter 2018, the Company realized stronger than anticipated performance. As a result, the Company expects Q1 Adjusted OIBDA of at least $30 million (subject to the completion of its quarterly close process), exceeding its previous guidance of $23 million to $27 million.4

Q2 2018: If the acquisition and retention of subscribers driven by WrestleMania is comparable to the subscriber activity associated with the prior year event, average paid subscribers for the second quarter 2018 would be approximately 1.77 million, representing an increase of approximately 8% from the second quarter 2017.5 As future subscriber performance may differ from prior activity, this range is provided for perspective rather than as guidance.

2018: WWE management continues to expect the Company to achieve another year of record revenue and has raised its target for 2018 Adjusted OIBDA to at least $145 million (excluding stock-based compensation expense), which would be an all-time record, exceeding its previous guidance of at least $140 million

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

NEWS

CM Punk Makes Surprise Debut on WWE Backstage

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CM Punk

After weeks of rumors, CM Punk has officially joined the crew of FOX’s WWE Backstage with a surprise appearance at the end of Tuesday’s show.

The appearance marked the first time Punk had appeared on WWE television since 2014 when he left following that year’s Royal Rumble, rather bitterly and abruptly, and engaged in a verbal, and legal, feud with WWE for the next few years.

However, the tension has seemingly thawed in the last year or so, with Punk more open to a return, in some form or fashion, to the world of professional wrestling, and with fans continuing to clamor for his return.

Punk’s deal to join WWE Backstage is via FOX, and he revealed that he isn’t interested in a return to the ring.

“Yeah I did it,” Punk said, during an appearance on Collider Live (h/t WrestlingInc.com’s Raj Giri). “I’m very much in a position where, ‘Well come talk to me.’ I’m open to anything. If they come to me with, ‘Hey we want you to wrestle,’ I’ll say, ‘Um, I’m not interested.'”

My agents just called me and Fox is throwing everything at this because they spent a lot of money on this and they’re all in to make it work. Originally, I thought it was a WWE thing, so I was just like, ‘meh, no.’ But then they said, ‘This is Fox.’

“I’m not dealing with anybody in WWE. They explained to me what it was, and I love Renee Young. Renee Young is a great person … she’s Canadian, so obviously she’s super over-the-top nice and friendly. I prefaced it with, ‘Guys, I’m not going to come in and dump all over stuff just to dump on it. That’s old Phil. But if it’s bad, I’m not going to be able to pretend it’s anything but bad.

“So they want to present it like it’s a real sport and just have a show that recaps stuff, just like they do with the NFL, just like the NHL Network would do with hockey games and stuff like that. That’s where we are with that.”

While Punk may not be dealing directly with WWE at this point, this certainly opens the door to a renewed working relationship with WWE down the line.

You can check out his shocking appearance below:

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NEWS

WWE Crown Jewel to Feature First Ever Women’s Match in Saudi Arabia

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WWE Crown Jewel

WWE is making strides with it’s ‘Crown Jewel’ event in Saudi Arabia, at least culturally.

WWE announced on Wednesday, during a special press conference at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, that the first-ever WWE women’s match in Saudi Arabia will take place at this Thursday’s ‘Crown Jewel’ event as part of Riyadh Season, which includes more than 100 events over a two-month span featuring world-class entertainment and sports properties.

Natalya will take on Lacey Evans on the card, which also includes Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez, and Tyson Fury vs. Braun Strowman.

Natalya and Evans have had several matches during this feud in 2019, and this bout promises to deliver the same action we have seen.

This isn’t the first time that WWE has attempted to put on a women’s match in Saudi Arabia, as they had planned a match between Natalya and Alexa Bliss for the Super Showdown event that took place in June, with officials traveling to the country in preparation of the event.

Unfortunately, approval was not granted from the Kingdom and the match was nixed at the last minute.

However, now approval has been granted and history will be made on Thursday.

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WWE is making amazing strides in elevating their women’s division, and it also points out how women streamers are making strides on Twitch and Mixer. Some are even considered the top female streamers in the industry, putting on some of the best Twitch channels and the best Mixer channels that can be found on the platforms.

 

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NEWS

John Morrison Returning to WWE

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John Morrison

John Hennigan (aka John Morrison), who has made a name for himself on the indy scene since departing WWE back in 2011, is heading back to WWE on a brand new deal, according to PW Insider.

Morrison won WWE’s Tough Enough competition back in 2002, headed to their development, and then made a successful first run in the company highlighted by multiple tag team titles, a WWE Intercontinental Championship reign, and winning the ECW Championship.

Morrison found success following his departure in 2011 with promotions such as Lucha Underground, AAA and Impact Wrestling, which he left in July after being one of their top stars and holding the Impact World Championship.

With WWE locking up superstars with lucrative long-term deals, their move to FOX, and NXT’s move to USA Network, it is likely that Morrison inked a long-term deal with the company.

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