World Wrestling Entertainment Posts Net Profit

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc, which produces live events, TV shows and pay-per-view programming, posted a net profit in the fiscal fourth quarter compared with a loss during the same period last year. The company credits its international operations for the profit.

The company posted net income of about $16 million, or 22 cents a share, compared with a loss of $20.4 million, or 28 cents, last year. Revenues jumped to $135.9 million from $131.1 million a year earlier.

Fourth quarter tallied 78 events, including three international events. This compares to 59 events during the same period last year. Attendance for the quarter was approximately 693,300, which included attendance of 38,400 from international live event tours. This compares to attendance of 695,400 in the prior year quarter.

The company enjoyed its highest grossing event, WrestleMania X8, with attendance of 68,237, shattering attendance and box office records at Toronto's SkyDome. The average ticket price increased approximately 10 percent to $37.91. Pay-Per-View revenues for the quarter were $40.6 million as compared to $39.3 million in the prior year quarter. Domestic pay-per-view buys for the quarter were 2.4 million versus 2.3 million buys last year.

Beginning with its April pay-per-view, Backlash, the price of pay-per-view programs increased from $29.95 to $34.95.
Estimates for WrestleMania X8 pay-per-view buys are in line with last year's record results of approximately 1.0 million buys. Television Rights Fees revenues increased 17 percent to $14.2 million due to the growth in international rights fees, rights fees for its Tough Enough television series, and other television specials. Television Advertising revenues were approximately $21.9 million and were essentially the same as compared to the prior year quarter. Branded Merchandise total revenues decreased approximately 3 percent to $30.9 million for the quarter versus $31.8 million last year.

Headquartered in Stamford, CT, the company changed its name last month from the World Wrestling Federation to World Wrestling Entertainment after legal problems with the World Wildlife Fund.