Endeavor expects US strikes to cause $25m monthly revenue hit

Vince McMahon

Endeavor expects the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes in the US to cost it around $25m revenue per month, with CEO Ari Emanuel admitting the impasse is likely to last “months, not days”.

Emanuel said his talent agency would “continue to stand with our clients, advocate on their behalf and push for a resolution that protects their creative and commercial interests”, with little sign that a resolution is close.

He added: “Time and again, our industry has navigated change and now is no exception as we adjust to new distribution models and technologies.”

Wrestling update & unscripted uptick

Endeavor CFO Jason Lublin admitted the cost to the company is running to about $25m per month, but he added that projections are hard to make given the unclear path ahead. As a result, earnings guidance has been pulled for the rest of the year.

Emanuel added that the strike is “not like any… that’s happened in a long time”, while Endeavor COO Mark Shapiro said an uptick in unscripted is beginning to be seen, but had not occurred as quickly as some expected.

Some projects that had been passed on are being revisited, Shapiro said, with the shift likely to provide some relief for Endeavor, which sold its scripted interests to CJ ENM in 2021, with the division subsequently being renamed Fifth Season.

Shapiro added that the increasing interest in unscripted suggests that the studios “foresee a long strike – and they need to fill the pipe with something.”

Despite the strikes, Endeavor reported Q2 revenue up 9% at $1.47bn across all its divisions and said it expects to complete its acquisition of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in mid-September.

The deal to create a $21bn “live sports and entertainment powerhouse” was revealed earlier this year and will see a new division – TKO Group Holdings – housing the wrestling competition and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the latter acquired by the talent firm in 2016.

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