World Wrestling Entertainment revealed in its latest financial report that both ticket sales and WWE Network subscribers have fallen.
In its financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year of 2019, WWE reported record revenues of $960.4 million, SportsBusiness reports, which is up three percent from 2018. However, despite their growth, the organization saw lower live event ticket sales, with 56 fewer events and lower average attendance overall. Additionally, they saw a decline in WWE Network subscription revenue with with the absence of Mixed Match Challenge on Facebook Watch, along with lower consumer product sales with the new WWE 2K20 video game and their average paid subscribers dropped 10 percent.
The news comes amid the sudden departure of co-presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson from the company last week. This sent the WWE stock prices into a decline, falling 20 percent after the shifts and another 15 percent at the opening of the stock market on February 6.
WWE Chairman and chief executive officer Vince McMahon explained in a statement that WWE’s live programming expanded during the company’s fourth quarter to help “diverse audiences across platforms and formats.”
“We believe the value of live sports will continue to increase, particularly in today’s evolving media landscape, and we are well positioned to take advantage of this trend to maximize the value of our content.”
Last year, the organization faced sluggish sales for a handful of events. During its annual Stomping Grounds pay-per-view event in June, parts of the venue were reportedly covered in tarps. While an exact number was not determined, ProWrestling estimated that the Tacoma Dome tarped off at least 6,000 seats following low ticket sales, which fans blamed were due to “rematches and stale feuds.” Additionally, the WWE returned to New York City’s Madison Square Garden for the first time in a decade, but failed to sell out its Raw and SmackDown Live shows.
WWE is reportedly looking to reshape the WWE Network, which could help boost sales. In a statement, the organization said that “management believes that WWE is well positioned to take advantage of significant growth opportunities.”
“The Company is pursuing several strategic initiatives that could increase the monetization of its content in 2020 and/ or subsequent years,” the statement noted. “These include distribution of content in the Middle East and India as well as the evaluation of strategic alternatives for the Company’s direct-to-consumer service, WWE Network.”