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World Wrestling Entertainment to Host Live Event in Abu Dhabi

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World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE - Free Report) ushered in good news for its fans in Abu Dhabi as WWE stars will perform live at the Zayed Sports City Tennis Stadium on Dec 7. The tickets for the event will be made available from Oct 11. WWE stars like Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Finn Bálor, Cesaro and Sheamus will feature at the live event. This will be the fourth time WWE will host a live event in UAE in the past five years.

Notably, WWE programming like Raw, SmackDown, Main Event, NXT, 205 Live, Vintage, WWE Experience, Bottom Line, Afterburn, This Week, WrestleMania and SummerSlam are broadcasted in the Middle East.

Considering the huge fan base of WWE in Middle East, we believe the live event will drive the company’s top-line. The year 2016 registered record revenue generation in the history of the WWE with the company reporting highest revenues ever. The company’s record revenues were mainly driven by a substantial increase in revenues in North America, Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) and gain in WWE Network’s total subscriber base.

The company has carried the momentum of 2016 into 2017, with the first and second quarter witnessing revenue growth of 10% and 8%, respectively. Further, analysts polled by Zacks expect sales increase of 7.2% for 2017, higher than the industry’s growth estimate of 6.9%.

Strategic Efforts

We believe WWE will continue to report record revenue growth as it has not only extended its earlier deal but also signed agreement with new service provider for airing its flagship program Raw and SmackDown in different countries.

The strong relationship between WWE and Groupe AB is set to continue into the 18th year with both companies extending the partnership. Per the deal, both the companies have signed multi-year agreement for airing WWE programming, which comprises of WWE’s leading shows including the likes of Raw as well as SmackDown.

In July, in an effort to augment revenues WWE reached an agreement with sports marketing agency Lagardère Sports, which will facilitate it to acquire international sponsorship. Per the agreement, Lagardère Sports will help in building partnership portfolio through its sponsorship proficiency and global sales channel in all international regions, excluding China. We believe with increasing subscription based video streaming services WWE Network through its vast presence in over 180 countries will aid top-line growth. The company has also recently reached an agreement to broadcast hit programs like Raw and SmackDown in Japan, Caribbean and Australia. Notably, WWE and TVA Sports also signed an agreement for airing Raw in French, beginning Oct 10.

Stock Performance

WWE shares have rallied 27.8% year to date, outperforming the industry’s marginal gain of 0.2%. However, stocks such as IMAX Corporation (IMAX - Free Report) , Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (FOXA - Free Report) and MSG Networks Inc. (MSGN - Free Report) , which belong to the aforementioned industry, have witnessed a decline of 28.3%, 3.7% and an increase of 2.6%, respectively.

WWE currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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