Friday, November 25, 2022

We interrupt our usual exploration of weighty financial reporting issues for a subject even more important, which we’re sure is on everyone’s mind these days.

Which companies have something to say about the World Cup?

Just for kicks, so to speak, we pulled up the third-quarter filings of all companies with $500 million or more in annual revenue, and searched “World Cup” in their footnote disclosures. Who would those companies be? Why would they have something to say about the World Cup? Did anyone have some sort of victory default swap against Argentina? Because wow, they really blew it with Saudi Arabia in the opening round.

We found a total of eight companies that mentioned the World Cup in one disclosure or another. A recap is below.

Comcast Corp. ($CMCSA) reported that the adjusted EBITDA for its Sky TV segment fell 27.9 percent compared to the year-earlier quarter, driven by higher operating costs for— you guessed it— broadcasting games related to the World Cup:

The increase in operating expenses primarily reflects higher sports programming costs due to the timing of sporting events, including a shift of certain football matches to the third quarter in advance of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will occur in the fourth quarter of 2022…

This raises an interesting point. Normally the World Cup is held over the summer, which means any costs and revenues derived from the event would be reported in the third quarter of that year. This time around, the World Cup is being held in the fourth quarter because Qatar is too hot for summer games. So that could lead to some unusual fourth-quarter reporting once those filings start arriving early next year.

Endeavor Group Holdings ($EDR), a sports marketing company, made much the same point in its own earnings release. The company’s Events, Experiences & Rights segment reported revenue of $440.6 million for the quarter, down 1 percent from the year-earlier period —  again, thanks to the odd timing of various sporting events:

The decrease was primarily due to certain media rights deals for events that do not occur annually, including the Ryder Cup, the UEFA Euro Championship and the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying games, as well as the timing of certain events that took place earlier in 2022 than the prior year.

We also have Mercadolibre ($MELI), an e-commerce business in Latin America that sounded so upbeat in its latest earnings release you almost want management to take a Xanax:

After a successful third quarter that delivered strong growth and profitability, our attention is now focused on executing well in the fourth quarter, which brings Black Friday, the FIFA World Cup and Christmas back onto the retail calendar. We remain as optimistic as ever about the fundamentals of our business… On our mission to democratize Latin America's commerce and financial services markets, the best is yet to come.

For the record, quarterly revenue rose 44.8 percent from the year-ago period, and net income was up 35.8 percent. Far be it from us to judge the company’s exuberance with numbers like that.

Visa ($V) reported higher marketing expenses for the quarter, “due to higher spending in various campaigns, including the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, and client marketing.” Then the company even included line-item detail on marketing expenses:

$1.336 billion in marketing expenses for Q3, up 17.6 percent from the year-earlier period. How much of that $200 million increase was specifically due to the World Cup? We don’t know, but the event is part of that increase somehow.

You get the gist of it. We don’t have a lot of disclosures in the great wide world of SEC filings, but global entertainment, sports, and consumer finance businesses are all spending big on the World Cup. Here’s hoping for a drama-filled series so there’s lots more to discuss — at the water cooler, and in Q4 filings once those arrive.

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