----Mike Aldren with WGN.
WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT
Superstars tonight has Gail Kim vs. Alicia Fox; The Usos vs. Mark Henry; Jack Swagger vs. Kaval; and Vince Archer vs. Luke Gallows.
We're looking for reports from all the European shows this coming week. The Raw crew runs tonight in Montpellier, France while Smackdown runs Belfast in Northern Ireland.
WWE announced it's third quarter financial results today which covers July through September. Revenues totaled $109.6 million and they took in profits of $10.3 million, an increase of $2.9 million from the prior year quarter. The bulk of the profit this quarter can be attributed to significant cutbacks in staff related costs--$24.3 million vs. $33.1 million in the prior year quarter. Vince McMahon commented that the results reflected the company’s focus on optimizing business in a difficult economy. "We generated earnings growth despite a decline in revenue across many of our businesses. We believe our ongoing talent transition and the sluggish economy were important factors in these declines. Based on our history of developing talent and creating content with broad appeal, we are confident we can address these creative challenges. Further, by taking advantage of our strategic opportunities, we can achieve meaningful growth." North America revenues decreased by 3% while revenues on the international front increased 2%, helped in part by new television and licensing deals. 78 live events generated $22.8 million as compared to 94 events and $27.2 million in the prior year quarter. That's 15 fewer domestic events and one less international. North American average attendance decreased 10% to 5,200 from 5,800 in the prior year quarter. International average attendance also decreased 26% to 6,700 from 9,100 in the prior year quarter. Average ticket price increased significantly overseas due to changes in foreign exchange rates and helped to offset revenue declines. Pay-Per-View revenues decreased 12% to $13.6 million compared to $14.5 million in the prior year quarter, which would have read far worse had the price of each PPV not increased by $5 in January. PPV buys totaled 735,000 for the quarter vs. 836,000 in the prior year quarter. The biggest loser was Money in the Bank in July which did just 165,000 buys comparable to Night of Champions in July, 2009 which did 267,000 buys. Television rights fees revenue was $31.1 million, an increase of $2.8 million in the prior year quarter. Merchandise sales decreased from $4.3 million to $3.9 million which the company blamed on fewer live events in the quarter. Licensing revenues were $10.8 million vs. $7.9 million in the prior year quarter, boosted by the new deal with Mattel which also increased toy sales by $2.4 million or 172% compared to the prior year quarter quarter. Video game revenue decreased by $500,000 . Magazine revenue decreased by $800,000. WWE.com ad revenue decreased by $500,000 and WWEShop.com revenue decreased by $100,000. WWE Studios reported a net loss of $600,000 despite more than doubling revenue from the prior year quarter. This was due to the timing of the release of Legendary with John Cena and the company's revised strategy of self distribution which includes advertising costs. The company reported a total of $3.8 million in revenue associated with Legendary.
Vince McMahon was "unable" to host WWE's investors conference call this morning. No explanation was given. The call was hosted by WWE CFO George Barrios and WWE COO Donna Goldsmith which was largely uneventful. Goldsmith talked about the need to create new main event talent to help give the business a nudge in the right direction. She said the retirement of Shawn Michaels coupled with the loss of Batista and Jericho, plus injuries to Triple H and CM Punk had adversely affected the company's live event and PPV business. She noted that Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio were both hot prospects for the future. She also noted that sales of Nexus merchandise has increased since Cena in storylines was forced to join the stable. Regarding the WWE TV Network, she said the plan is to hold business meetings with potential partners in January and then take things from there.
TheStreet.com at http://tinyurl.com/2vm3rbl has a story on WWE's declining PPV buys and notes the over priced dividend the company has been paying out for the past year. George Barrios gave the company line that MMA (UFC) isn't competition, saying there is more of a cross over appeal with boxing fans to that genre than with the WWE Universe. That's funny, because WWE's own internal and independent focus groups tell a very different story.
WWE sent out a press release today (Link: http://tinyurl.com/34933zd) to highlight the results of an independent study that claims the company generated $45 million for the local economy during Wrestlemania 26 weekend earlier this year in Phoenix. The study, conducted by Los Angeles-based Enigma Research Corp, estimated 63 percent of fans at WrestleMania were from outside the Phoenix metro area, with 53 percent visiting for three nights or more. The study also claimed that more than 72,000 fans attended the show--which had the economic impact equivilent to creating 510 full times jobs. 72,219 was the announced attendance for Wrestlemania 26 while the legit number was 61,093. Phoenix Stadium was actually only set up for just over 67,000.
THQ, who controls the worldwide rights for WWE video games, announced this week a net loss of $47 million, significantly worse than last year’s net loss of $5.6 million in the same period, for it's second fiscal quarter. "This holiday begins the consistent flow of quality products that we've been investing in over the past two years. Our December quarter will be led by WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 and our new uDraw GameTablet," said THQ President and CEO Brian Farrell. "Key releases for our March quarter include our new core game franchise Homefront as well as WWE All Stars, UFC Personal Trainer and de Blob 2. Our goal this fiscal year continues to be to position THQ for significant growth in fiscal 2012 and beyond, with high quality core games such as Red Faction Armageddon, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, and the next installment of our Saints Row franchise scheduled for release in fiscal 2012,” continued Farrell. “We continue to execute on our strategy of integrating a digital component into all of our key franchises, including downloadable content and games on the iPhone, iPad, Facebook, Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network."
Bret Hart won't be appearing at Monday's Raw taping in Manchester, England as originally advertised. He's now scheduled for the house show in London next Tuesday.
Beth Phoenix wrote on Twitter today, "The WWE Wellness Policy is such an important part of our company. I am very proud to be a healthy drug-free athlete. I want young female athletes to know you CAN be the best and lead a healthy lifestyle. Make smart choices for your future." No idea where that came from...
TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION WRESTLING
Impact tonight includes Ink Inc & Mickie James vs. Generation Me & Tara; The Pope vs. Abyss; plus news on Sunday's Turning Point pay-per-view.
ShopTNA.com has a VIP package deal for the pay-per-view this weekend in Orlando. $99 gives you VIP access to Turning Point and the subsequent two days of television tapings, $50 worth of merchandise, plus meet and greats with the wrestlers before and after the PPV at the TNA hotel.
Military, police and fireman on production of photo ID will now be able to jump the queue when attending television tapings at Universal Studios. They are also now doing numbered tickets so people don't have to wait in line for several hours before each taping.
Ross Forman started back with the company last month in his previous role as publicist.
Mick Foley will be in London, England on 11/11 signing copies of his new book at Waterstone's in Piccadilly. He's also doing a signing the following day at Waterstone's at the Trafford Centre in Manchester.
Foley will also be signing copies his book this Friday from 7pm at Chapters Square One in Mississauga, ONT.
OTHER WRESTLING NEWS
Scott Hall is hospitalized once again after recently undergoing heart surgery to fit a pacemaker. Sid Eudy was interviewed last night at www.blogtalkradio.com/ringsideradio and detailed Hall's medical condition. "His condition is this, I think everybody knows a little about, he just received a little thing in his heart where it monitors his heart beat and if it gets too low it kicks his heart back in because of some of the medication he has been on and because of this heart deal he has been having a few seizures. That is why he has been in the hospital the last couple of days. One thing is he has told me and the people around him, I forgot how many hits he had for his birthday, those things right there. Those are the things that people like me and Scott, of all the things I cherish in this business are things like that…I know all the comments and all the great feedback he got for his birthday and about his condition has been good. I hope people keep that up."
Michael O'Brien's Northeast Wrestling runs this weekend in Port Jervis and Washingtonville, NY with Roddy Piper, Abyss, Shane Helms and Mickie James. More info at www.northeastwrestling.com.
National Wrestling Superstars runs Friday night in Ridgefield Park, NJ at Knights of Columbus Hall with The Patriot, Salvatore Sincere, and Dawn Marie. More info at www.nwswrestling.com.
WSU debuts Saturday night on iPPV via GoFightLive.TV from Union City, NJ. Mercedes Martinez vs. Jazz; Angel Orsini vs. Alicia; Serena vs. Traci Brooks; ODB vs. Portia Perez; Brittney Savage vs. Sassy Stephanie; Cindy Rogers & Jana vs. The Belle Saints; and Amy Lee vs. Jessicka Havok. More info at www.wsuwrestling.com.
Dallas Page, George Steele, JD Maverick and April Hunter will be appearing at the Scarefest Con this weekend in Lexington, KY. More info at http://scarefestcon.com.
The American Rampage Wrestling group runs 11/10-11/21 across France with Booker T, Scott Steiner, Sandman, Charlie Hass, Shelton Benjamin, Shawn Daivari, Nosawa, and many more. Details at www.awrwrestling.com.
Ken Patera was a guest on the latest Right After Wrestling podcast at http://tinyurl.com/2u5oev4. He spoke about helping to break Ric Flair into the business in the early 1970s. "Ric and I were sharing a house with a couple other guys in 1972 and he was hounding me to introduce him to Verne Gagne because I was starting at Gagne's training camp in a few weeks. I finally took him down to the old wrestling office in downtown Minneapolis and introduced him to Verne. He said, 'I already have enough guys, I can't handle one more.' The other guys were Greg Gagne, Verne's son, The Iron Sheik, and Jumpin Jim Brunzell. Finally we convinced him to include Ric and that's how it all started."
Ring of Honor announced Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas will appear for the promotion at January's WrestleReunion in Los Angeles.
Jim Cornette "stands up for WWE" at www.WhosSlammingWho.podomatic.com.
Bobby Lashley has re-launched his online supplement store at www.lashleyperformance.com.
Trish Sratus did a cover shoot last week for Inside Fitness magazine with UFC trainer Jonathan Chaimberg. Video footage at http://tinyurl.com/2uhoc3t.
Today's Babe of the Day is Lita at http://thewrestlingpress.com/?page_id=298.