Sports Business : Wanda Sports Group shows 26% decline in first quarter numbers

Wanda Sports Group (WSG) a leading global sports events, media and marketing agency has announced its Q1 results today. The company has shown 26 per cent fall in revenues US$180.3 million), primarily due to heavy losses within the company’s spectator sports and mass participation divisions.

First Quarter 2020 Highlights: 

  • Total revenue from continuing operations was €163.7 million (US$180.3 million), compared to €219.9 million in the first quarter of 2019. Despite the decrease in revenue, gross profit increased from €53.6 million to €57.8 million (US$63.7 million) year-over-year mainly due to a favorable sports events calendar, from a margin perspective, in the first quarter of 2020 prior to the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated mitigation efforts. 
  • Loss for the period from continuing operations was €4.3 million (US$4.7 million), compared to a profit of €3.4 million in the first quarter of 2019. The loss principally reflected additional finance costs as well as increased personnel expenses.
  • Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations was €20.7 million (US$22.8 million), compared to €28.2 million in the first quarter of 2019, mainly reflecting the increase in operating expenses.
  • There were only two mass participation events as part of our continuing operations in the first quarter of 2020, as was the case in the first quarter of 2019. The number of gross-paid athletes decreased to 4,000 in the first quarter of 2020, compared to 45,000 in the first quarter of 2019, due to event cancellations as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Company completed a refinancing in March 2020 as a part of which it prepaid the unsecured senior 364-day term loan facility entered into in March 2019.
  • The Group successfully extended and expanded its partnership with the International Biathlon Union (IBU) for exclusive media and marketing rights until the end of the 2029/30 season. 
  • The Group has been appointed by the French Tennis Federation as host broadcaster for the French Open (Roland Garros) from 2021 to 2023.

Mr. Hengming Yang, Chief Executive Officer of Wanda Sports Group, commented, “We started off the year with good momentum from all of our business segments. However, almost all major sporting events were postponed or cancelled starting in March of this year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Despite unprecedented market conditions, we still delivered revenue of €163.7 million, primarily driven by our resilient business model and long-term contractual agreements. We continue to believe in the long-term global dynamics of the sports industry, and our ability to execute our growth strategies to further reinforce our strengths and competitive advantages.”

In March, Wanda also signed a US$240 million 364-day term loan facility with the Singapore-based branch of Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse