WWE reports $43.8 million in profits after significant layoffs during pandemic

Jack Baer
·Writer
·2-min read

Despite (or possibly because of) an ongoing pandemic, business is booming for WWE.

The wrestling promotion reported enormous profits for the second quarter of 2020 on Thursday, clearing $43.8 million when analysts were expecting something in the neighborhood of $12 million, according to wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer.

Per Meltzer, plenty went into WWE’s financial success, but a big factor was the savings of producing shows at the WWE Performance Center and stringing multiple shows together. Per Cageside Seats, the promotion’s operating income decreased to $223.4 million from $268.9 million in Q2 2019, but that was more than offset by a reduction in operating expenses to $117.4 million from $197.4 million.

Clearly, it was a good a quarter for a company that had few qualms with pushing employees to work in the early days of the pandemic.

Of course, that all might be news to the many employees WWE laid off when it was supposedly tightening its belt.

WWE laid people off as profits soared

A trailer set up near a satellite truck to transmit wrestling broadcasts is parked outside the WWE Performance Center Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. Florida’s top emergency official last week amended Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stay-at-home order to include employees at the professional sports and media production with a national audience, if the location is closed to the public.  (AP Photo/John Raoux)
The WWE kept the show going during a pandemic. That turned out to be a very profitable decision. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Specifically citing the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, WWE announced in April it was making significant reductions in headcount.

Both on- and off-air talent got the axe, and WWE estimated it would save $4 million per month through the layoffs. However, those cuts didn’t even factor into the company’s very good quarter because employees were still paid through July 17 per Meltzer, which was after the end of the quarter.

WWE was also unique in the staffing cuts as Meltzer notes some of its most significant competitors — New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor and All Elite Wrestling — didn’t lay off a single person despite actual financial struggles.

So it seems we have a company that laid-off people it didn’t need to lay off, as its struggling competition didn’t lay any people off, and ending up with some of its best profits ever during a pandemic. Sounds about right from Vince McMahon.

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