The movement to cancel WWE Network subscriptions early may be going ahead full steam based upon the Royal Rumble fumble, but could Vince McMahon respond with another wave of WWE layoffs if the subscription numbers start dropping too low?
In a related report by the Inquisitr, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson saved Roman Reigns, there was a slight pop in applause, but otherwise the fans in Philadelphia were not happy at all. Fans on social media merely made the phrase “cancel WWE Network” popular, these Philly fans literally blocked the WWE superstars from leaving the arena. One of the focuses of Monday Night RAW was even Roman Reigns addressing the crowd’s reaction to his win and McMahon gave his shocking opinion of Daniel Bryan.
As of this publishing, Vince McMahon has not addressed the number of people cancelling WWE Network. As might be expected, there was a WWE stock drop the day following Royal Rumble 2015, but it was relatively minor, dropping from $10.72 to $10.48. But if the average investor takes note of the blood in the water, they may descend like sharks upon the sell button.
Considering that the WWE Network cancellation website went down at one point, the numbers must be relatively high, or at least their server was never intended to handle such a heavy, sudden load. The issue at stake is exactly how many people carry out their threat to cancel WWE Network subscriptions early. Since the plan is now month-to-month, there is no penalty, and fans may show their displeasure by putting their money where their mouth is. If that’s the case, then Vince McMahon may be forced to take drastic measures like more WWE layoffs.
Before SummerSlam 2014, the company had a revenue of $514 million to work with. The streaming services of the WWE Network has a higher operating cost so the company cut costs by reducing spending on fireworks, props, shutting down WWE Magazine, and other items. The WWE layoffs were infamous at the time, but they actually were predicted to cause a third quarter loss due to the cost of severance packages and other termination costs. It’s believed the WWE Network international launch into 170 countries increased their subscriber base, but at the last official count they had only reached 731,000 members.
The good news is that this leaner WWE can handle the “cancel WWE Network” movement slightly better than it could have six months ago. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer, before the international launch occurred “the network would only need 750,000 worldwide network subscribers on average next year for the company to break even, down from the estimated 1.4 million subscriber number they had discussed publicly.”
So why would Vince McMahon announce even more WWE layoffs? Originally, the company had projected one million WWE Network subscribers by WrestleMania 30 and they were hoping to reach 1.5 million by 2015. Once they realized those estimates were way off, as noted above they began cutting costs to make the WWE profitable again. This is quite remarkable if you consider the fact that the much maligned WWE deal with NBC increased one of their biggest sources of income from $90 to $150 million, which is a very respectable 70 percent raise.
In the end, everyone knows Vince McMahon will do what is best for business. If enough people cancel WWE Network, then the company may be forced to make even more cuts, and further WWE layoffs will come up as an option due to budget constraints. But it remains to be seen how much further the company can tighten their belt, and whether or not some of the bigger names on the WWE roster may end up on the chopping block.
The question is, how will fans react if some of their WWE superstars disappear? Can the company even afford more WWE layoffs when fans already complain about seeing the same set of matches on a routine basis? That’s not even the worst case scenario… what if Vince scraps the WWE Network as was rumored in the past?