WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was quiet on WWE’s working relationship with Saudi Arabia and the upcoming Crown Jewel Event during the recent third quarter earnings call from WWE HQ in Stamford, CT.
Vince noted in his opening statement that the company is looking forward to Evolution and Crown Jewel this weekend, but he did not name Saudi Arabia. WWE Co-President George Barrios later mentioned in his opening statement how difficult of a decision it was to continue with Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia.
The Q&A with investors opened up with a caller asking Vince about The Kingdom being a key market for WWE now. The caller also wanted to know Vince’s thought process when deciding to keep Crown Jewel in The Kingdom. Vince responded by saying that they were not going to talk a lot about that. Vince added that it is naturally a very sensitive subject these days and their statement in the recent press release says all they want to say about the situation.
Another investor later asked if WWE would hold more events in Saudi Arabia next year. Barrios answered and said that they will know more about those plans in the next quarter when they have the plan for that year locked in. Another investor asked about potential outside risks WWE can’t control when doing business with Saudi Arabia, such as government economic sanctions. Barrios turned the question down, citing the complexity of the situation and said everything they will say on the topic was in the statement recently released.
WWE has faced growing criticism over their relationship with The Kingdom due to the disappearance and murder of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. WWE confirmed in the recent Q3 earnings report that the event will go on as scheduled. Crown Jewel will take place on Friday, November 2nd in The Saudi capital of Riyadh. For those who missed it, below is their statement:
“WWE has operated in the Middle East for nearly 20 years and has developed a sizable and dedicated fan base. Considering the heinous crime committed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, The Company faced a very difficult decision as it relates to its event scheduled for November 2nd in Riyadh. Similar to other U.S.-based companies who plan to continue operations in Saudi Arabia, The Company has decided to uphold its contractual obligations to the General Sports Authority and stage the event. Full year 2018 guidance is predicated on the staging of the Riyadh event as scheduled.”