WWE may cut back on house shows to save money

Citing low profit margins, TKO plans to cut back on WWE live events.

Mark Shapiro, Chief Operating Officer of TKO, discussed the company’s intention to optimize its live event portfolio, which may involve a reduction in the number of non-televised WWE house shows.

Speaking at the UBS media conference, Shapiro said, “there’s probably an opportunity, as we go through our synergies and efficiency opportunities, to cut back on some of those non-televised events which, of course, will push our margin up,” he said, adding they are going through that exercise now.

Shapiro emphasized that although house shows contribute positively to brand visibility, audience growth, and outreach to smaller locales labeled as “C and D counties,” they are financially dilutive from a margin standpoint. While he did not explicitly define “C and D counties,” it is inferred that these are events held in smaller cities and towns. Additionally, Shapiro noted that WWE organizes a total of 300 events annually, with 170 of them broadcasted on television.

Shapiro also identified production as an area where further cost savings can be achieved. He specifically mentioned travel crews and production for televised events for both UFC and WWE.

“There are a lot of production efficiencies. Even if our production chiefs want to tell me there’s not, frankly, I worked at ESPN for 12 years, I oversaw all production, I have been through all the song and dance with every producer who treats every tape machine and camera like it’s a baby and doesn’t want to give it up. And we’re here to improve our margins.

“We’re going to scrutinize every dollar on production for every single event, every single one of these telecasts, and improve our savings,” he said.

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