Want to talk about something being hidden in plain sight? How about the resurgence in popularity of professional wrestling? Back in April of this year, one day after WWE’s Superbowl-like event, known as WrestleMania took place at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, WWE chairman and CEO, Vince McMahon announced he was selling the company to Endeavour. For the first time in more than 60 years, the wrestling promotion would be owned and operated by someone other than a McMahon; something die-hard wrestling fans and historians both thought they’d never live to see. But the announcement wasn’t the shock, it was the sticker price on the sports entertainment company; 9.3 billion! YES…billion with a “B”! Endeavor plans to combine WWE with their MMA company, UFC, to create a new $21 Billion company, a merger expected to close by the end of September.
You might think that’s the finale to a very, VERY rich story. However, it’s only the beginning. That Wrestlemania that just happened before the announcement of a sale, Wrestlemania 39, saw the largest gate for any wrestling company, raking in more than $21 Million in ticket sales with more than 161,000 in attendance over two nights.
You might say, ‘Yea, well, that’s their big event! I expect them to do big things then. But how about the rest of the year?’ I’m glad you asked. August 5th, the sports entertainment company took their end- of-season premium live event, Summer Slam to Detroit’s Ford Field where they packed in nearly 60,000 fans and broke even more company records. WWE had more than $8.5 million in ticket sales and over $7 million in sponsorship revenue!
Shall I go on? This past Friday, August 18th, WWE released tickets to their 40th Wrestlemania. It’s taking place April of next year at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Remember the gate they brought in for Wrestlemania 39? Yea, WWE broke that record in a single day of sales. One. Single. Day. And they did it selling more than 92,000 tickets for this two day event that's still 9 months away.
So, is it just one company pulling in these numbers? For the most part, yes. WWE is a juggernaut in the sports entertainment / pro wrestling world. However, there are a handful of small companies that are seeing new-found success thanks to WWE raising the tides.
One of those companies that’s taking full advantage is All Elite Wrestling. This weekend, they’re running their first European show in London’s Wembley Stadium. As of this posting, they’re only about 4,000 tickets away from selling out more than 85,000 seats!They’ve already sold enough tickets to break the all-time attendance record for any pro wrestling event, ever!
The resurgence of professional wrestling, epitomized by the monumental success of WWE and echoed by the impressive achievements of companies like All Elite Wrestling, is a phenomenon that cannot be solely attributed to a single factor. Rather, it is a convergence of various elements that have propelled this resurgence into the limelight.
In the midst of a rapidly changing world, where entertainment options seem boundless, the rekindled allure of professional wrestling stands as a captivating testament to the enduring power of storytelling, athleticism, and spectacle. What was once dismissed by some as a bygone relic has proven its uncanny ability to evolve, adapt, and recapture the imagination of audiences worldwide.