WWE put out a press release on Wednesday morning announcing that, due to the financial toll the coronavirus pandemic had taken on the promotion, the company would be cutting back in a variety of ways including furloughing a portion of its staff. The release read, "WWE (NYSE: WWE) today provided an update on measures taken by the Company in response to the current impact of COVID-19 on the organization. Due to COVID-19 and current government mandated impacts on WWE and the media business generally, the Company went through an extensive evaluation of its operations over the past several weeks."
"This analysis resulted in the implementation of various short-term cost reductions and cash flow improvement actions including:
- Reducing executive and board member compensation;
- Decreasing operating expenses;
- Cutting talent expenses, third party staffing and consulting;
- Deferring spend on the build out of the Company's new headquarters for at least six months."
"Given the uncertainty of the situation, the Company also identified headcount reductions and made the decision to furlough a portion of its workforce effective immediately," the release continued. "The decision to furlough versus permanently reduce headcount reflects the fact that the Company currently believes the furlough will be temporary in nature. The Company's reductions of employee compensation and headcount result in an estimated monthly savings of $4 million along with cash flow improvement of $140 million primarily from the deferral in spending on the Company's new headquarters."
The announcement comes just days after Florida state officials had deemed WWE an "essential business," allowing them to continue to produce live television from the WWE Performance Center despite the state's "stay at home" order. WWE announced last week that it would be moving forward with live episodes of Raw, SmackDown and NXT beginning this week rather than taping a bunch of episodes at once.
"We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times," the statement read. "We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff. As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance."