Wednesday, May 07, 2014

An assortment of old articles on NWA/WCW/WWF from 1988-1993


I was asked by someone (@wrestlespective):
Are there reliable yearly revenue numbers available for WCW somewhere?
At first I (@mookieghana) replied:
It's possible Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) published annual numbers in the WON but I'm not certain about that. When Turner filed SEC reports, there was only a scant mention of WCW here or there but never consistent. More importantly, some WCW revenue streams were intracompany (such as Turner Video) so accounting was not straightforward. In the run-up to WCW shutting down, there was lots of journalism that would quote WCW revenue (based on leaks from Bischoff negotiations) but some only some of these reports were accurate. Some of it was based on distortions. But that's not to say that never was any revenue numbers published.
I also mentioned that even in the court documents that were produced for the Sonny Onoo lawsuit, some wrestlers (notable Warrior) were listed on the payroll but at $0 (since he was paid out of the Turner Video account).

David Bixenspan (@davidbix) also chimed in:
Plus WCW started making an on paper profit as soon as Bischoff got TBS/TNT to pay rights fees. If you give them comparable rights fees the previous years, WCW doesn't "lose money" til crashing but there was so much creative accounting going on that it's VERY difficult to get exact. Yes, the Turner Home Entertainment (THE) was getting a % of PPV buys and Turner Program Sales was being paid millions to syndicate their own show, but as you mentioned, expensive wrestlers were sometimes shunted elsewhere. For the record,1995 was the first "profitable" year.
So, with that all said, here were some of the articles that I referring to which quote revenue figures for WCW/NWA/WWF:

Importantly, there was an October 1988 Forbes article which said that Vince McMahon was likely a "centimillionaire".  Occasionally the $500M estimate for 1980's WWF peak is used.  More often, the $150M estimate for WWF seems to come up.  Additionally, WCW was estimated at about $33M (1989) with projection to reach $50M for 1990.


Other, more recent but still good things to read include:
5/5/14 Variety: Upfronts 2014: Why Cable Is Grafting New Faces On To Old Bodies
4/20/14 Adweek: How NBCU's Bonnie Hammer Plans to Dominate Cable


WWE announced their Q1 earnings on 5/1/14.  I covered the event with two articles at WhatCulture.


Some of you may have heard about the vague "Investigation over Possible Securities Laws Violations" alert from Shareholders Foundation, Inc.  We still don't know much about this except they're not a law firm but "professional portfolio monitoring service". You can see their stock reply to questions about what they were doing.


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