A new story from The Wrestling Observer Newsletter looked at if the WWE NXT brand makes money as a pro wrestling promotion, noting that there has been some questions on whether or not the brand is profitable.
It was recently reported by the Sports Business Journal that new WWE talents that are signed to developmental contracts are paid on average $50,000 to $150,000 per year, with the average pay for developmental talents being around $80,000 per year. The Observer noted that if you include the main WWE Performance Center in Orlando and the UK Performance Center in London, then the promotion is easily a huge money loser. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as a developmental territory shouldn’t be there to make money.
Triple H has said in the past that NXT is profitable, and in a sense it is, but not if you look at the numbers as a separate wrestling company. The live event touring would be profitable as ticket sales for live events and merchandise is enough to cover the costs of travel and lodging. The Observer added that looking at the brand as a separate wrestling company with the roughly $8 million in talent costs factored in with the annual ticket gross of $6.4 million and the $1 million in merchandise, which is likely on the higher end, plus no TV revenue, then the revenue doesn’t cover talent salaries, let alone travel, rentals, marketing and promotion, and TV taping costs. The Observer also noted that by those old standards, NXT would be a big money loser.
It was also noted that NXT talents, because they’re averaging $80,000 per year, get their hotels paid for on the road, unlike talents on the main roster. The crews also travel together when they’re on the Road Trip live event tours outside of Florida, which is also taken care of by the company.
Former WWE Superstar TJP recently appeared on Wrestling Inc’s WINCLY Podcast and talked about his deal with the black & yellow brand.
“We all had NXT deals. Mine was pretty big. They offered me two raises before I actually had a deal because they thought I might go somewhere else. I remember getting more than what was normal, but it was still an NXT deal,” Perkins said.
Perkins said that after WrestleMania 33 in 2017, everyone switched over to main roster deals, but lamented that he lost many of the things that NXT contracts covered that main roster contracts did not cover.
“If you’re on NXT and you’re wrestling on the main roster, that’s the best-case scenario because you’re making a lot extra and getting to keep a lot of it because you don’t have to handle rental cars and stuff like that,” he revealed before adding that WWE could have done more to help the reputation of the cruiserweights with things like merchandising.
“I did really well at the gate. I think even to this day none of the cruiserweights lucked out as much as what I got initially, I got like six shirts and two action figures and some of the guys are just getting their first shirts and figures now, which sucks. That’s something that could have really helped the perception of the cruiserweights in terms of the fans if there was more stuff like that put out.”