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"PPV is dead... except for this one last time"

Hi Keith,

When a boxing match, an industry declared dead 20 years ago, makes more PPV money with the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight than in the history of earth, how bad is it going to look to investors that were told the PPV market was dead anyway to justify crappy Network numbers? How long until looking bad becomes looking incompetent?

Someone needed to remind Vince you can't hardsell a subscription service, and the hardsell was his family's entire business model.

 Unrelated note, wasn't cowboy hat Macho King awesome? Him screwing over Warrior just to be a jerk at Rumble 91 was what hooked me on wrestling.

"Free month of May" sure feels like a hard sell to me.  As others have noted, if this is the route they're going they should just do the "first month is free for new subs" model like Netflix and be done with it.  Although WM did 250K buys this year, which is pretty much free money at this point.  All they have to do is fire another 10% of their workforce and they'll be profitable for years!  

People are talking about 4 million buys for the Pacquio/Mayweather fight, though, which sounds ludicrous.  Still, even 2 million at $100 a pop is crazy money and shows that the right attraction will still draw.  

Comments

  1. Wait - they're not doing a free month of May, are they? Didn't they already do a free month in April?

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  2. Boxing PPV and wrestling PPV are two different things. This is one fight, versus over a dozen WWE PPVs per year. Oversaturation. This fight was also inadvertently 'booked' like what'd be a marquee wrestling program. undefeated superheel versus the babyface he's supposedly been dodging, and won cheaply against in the last fight. When's the last time you saw that heat in wrestling? Has nothing to do with the market, aside from it being hard to get that sort of heat in the span of a month, but more to do with WWE's inability to book compelling programs.


    Network numbers aren't 'crappy,' either. There is growth, as far as I can remember...which is worth quite a bit in the long run if they keep it up.

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  3. All they needed to do was keep WrestleMania on PPV and the Network would be doing okay. The last non-Network WM did 1+ million buys so the notion PPV is/was dead is/was stupid. They submarined all the WM PPV revenue into the Network to prop it up and it still isn't breaking even.


    Think about it -- I would guess a vast majority of that 800k paying number would ALSO pay $70 for WrestleMania in addition to the $10 a month for everything else.

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  4. Stranger in the AlpsApril 30, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    "...the right attraction will still draw. "



    That's the problem. WWE, and wrestling in general, really doesn't have a money drawing match anymore. The Undertaker well has run dry, the only star they can get to come back is The Rock and there really isn't anyone on his level to face him. WWE may as well go all-in with the Network for that reason. There is nowhere else to go for PPV money.

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  5. If you look at all boxing PPVs like all wrestling PPVs, the same problems emerge. There were too many fights on PPVs, which has necessitated a move back to TV, including NBC.


    But the big fights/shows DO still draw. The WWE killed PPV (or at least the WrestleMania PPV) years before they had to.

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  6. Correct. If it means they give me May on the account that got April free, fine; but I'm not even going to bother signing up for yet another account otherwise. I've barely used it in April, and Extreme Rules was ass.

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  7. WrestleMania is the attraction that draws. WM 25 was headlined by HHH/Orton and still did 960k buys.


    I mean, 250k people bought WM this year INSTEAD of the Network. That's crazy. People literally throwing away money bc they only want to pay attention to 1 show.

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  8. Apples and Oranges. Mayweather/Pacquio is an almost once-in-a-lifetime thing.

    WWE put out 12-16 PPVs a year, with only WrestleMania being considered a huge deal.

    The Network would've done just fine if, say, it had eight "Network Specials" every six weeks and WWE still ran 4 traditional PPVs per year.

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  9. The key to a big event is put a convicted women beater in the Main Event.

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  10. Stranger in the AlpsApril 30, 2015 at 1:08 PM

    The issue there is for WWE to figure out how to get those 250k to spend $10, or why those 250k don't want the Network. They're leaving the PPV business model in the dust, and the Network is actually a revolutionary concept, failing or not.

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  11. Somehow it will get in Vince's head that Mayweather = PPV buys, so we'll see Mayweather vs. Big Show II at WrestleMania 32.

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  12. Yeah, look at how well they did with Austin over the years!

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  13. Oh ya, oversaturation iis there. Actually most of what I said contradicted the first sentence I wrote. I didn't explain my thoughts too well. It's more that it is ironic that MW/Pac is a wrestling promoter's dream storyline (boxing, too, obviously). It's also more that THIS fight isn't comparable to 12+ monthly WWE PPVs as it's a unique, nearly-a-cultural-landmark type fight and not your run of the mill fight. hope that makes a bit more sense. Wouldn't even compare it to Wrestlemania, of course.


    Anyway...the PPV model is dying, not dead, but there's exceptions to every rule... And before long, UFC will have similar issues.

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  14. Of course, that factors in International Buys, which boxing and UFC don't keep track of. Domestically, WrestleMania 25 did 605k, which would've been only the third highest WWE buyrate in 2000.

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  15. PPV is a dying medium. This fight is an exception to the rule. Plus Pacquio/Mayweather isn't something where they will have a re-match the next time on RAW. Or then several gimmicks matches thereafter. This is a once in a lifetime event. It is also REAL. The value proposition on spending $54.95 a month on a WWE PPV no longer exists. Their events are mostly meaningless.

    I agree that Wrestlemania is maybe the one event they could have kept on PPV, but it would only be a short-term thing they could have done for a few years.

    The network is a necessary service and an answer to the disruptive technology that is taking place in the TV industry. Cable TV is evolving and in a few years will look much different.

    Yes it isn't too super hot now, but it is a marathon not a sprint. Companies that don't change with the times go out of business.

    The WWE's issue isn't their network decision, but improving their on-air product.

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  16. If they had the fight last week and this week twice for free on tv, nobody would buy the PPV. But that's what WWE is doing.

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  17. This guy gets it.

    Buyrates have been declining for years, and while a lot of that can be credited to crappy product, the PPV market is shrinking because an increasing amount of people A) realize WWE's PPVs are meaningless and B) realize that with little effort they can find a live stream online.

    With that said, I still think WWE could've kept Mania as a PPV for a few more years, and then make it "Network Exclusive!" when the PPV market final peters out a few years from now.

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  18. So I hear the 97 RAWs have been uploaded to the Network now? True or false?

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  19. The thing is, WWE basically fucked the non-wrestling PPV business up themselves with the split-brand PPVs in the mid-00s and they never recovered. During the time period where WWE was lucky to get 200k domestic buys for a non-Rumble, Summerslam or WrestleMania, UFC was doing the type of numbers every month that WWF used to get from 1998-2002

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  20. Nope. All of '98 was uploaded 2 weeks ago, but that's it.

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  21. This also proves that WWE is in terrible, terrible shape for Mania 32.

    WWE is going to try to fill 100k seats and in no way, shape, or form do they have a match capable of filling that.

    Rousey isn't going to fill 100k seats, even if UFC lets her wrestle. Austin and Michaels aren't coming back. Rock and Batista have already come back, so the "big comeback" card has been played. Sting and Undertaker don't mean much anymore.

    Wrestling was never hotter than Hogan/Andre, and that did 80k (although based on the stadium photos, I really think Hogan/Andre did do closer to 93k). Other than that,Mania has never drawn more than 80k at 29 and 23. What makes Vince think he can get another 20k people? What draw does he have?

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  22. A heavily anticipated fight between two guys who are well established as great fighters is drawing interest? Amazing!

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  23. I think the WWE is going to push hard for some huge musical act for Wrestlemania 32. That might be the only way they can get to 100K, capture those people who want to see the act, and may or may not stick around for the actual rasslin'.

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  24. 2006 had 16 (!) WWE PPVs. WWE's solution to declining PPV buys was to do more PPVs.

    That wasn't the solution. If WWE honestly thought people were going to buy December to Dismember after 15 other PPVs that year, they're fucked in the head.

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  25. Do my now 5 different accounts count towards WWE Network's numbers? I hope so, I'm glad to help.

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  26. They'll fill seats and shamelessly lie anyway. Doesn't matter.

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  27. MaffewOfBotchamaniaApril 30, 2015 at 1:42 PM

    ''When a boxing match, an industry declared dead 20 years ago''

    Twenty years ago was 1995, so I'd like to know who it was declared dead by.

    Presumably a person who'd never heard of De La Hoya, Pacquiao, Lewis, Holyfield...oh and that Tyson bloke.

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  28. If I wasn't a wrestling fan, I wouldn't pay $100 to see even my favorite band pay three songs to open for a wrestling show.

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  29. Sure, by giving away tickets. But the point of the entertainment business is to make money. Can't make much money by giving away 40,000 tickets. Sure, they'll buy pretzels and beer and a Cena t-shirt, but is that maximizing the potential?

    Everyone in America could see Mayweather vs. Pacquiao this weekend if it was on CBS. They also would be out millions upon millions of dollars.

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  30. If you look at both Floyd and Manny's numbers, they've been dropping at the same rate as UFC or boxing. Neither guy has sold a million PPV buys in the last couple years.

    The reason Mayweather-Pacquiao is going to do anywhere between 3-4 million buys is that it's a once in a lifetime fight that's been built up for the last 6 years. The wrestling equivalent would be if Rock and Austin never faced each other until 2003.

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  31. No I agree with you 100%, I believe their thinking is Wrestlemania is an "entertainment" event, so if they got a big musical act, like say maybe Jay-Z and Beyonce for instance, that would bring in people who couldn't give two craps about wrestling, or just a marginal interest in wrestling, but would be extra people that probably would be willing to spend the money to get into the building and get over 100k.

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  32. And imagine how much dough they'll have to cough up to get Jay-Z and Beyonce to do it, considering they could fill up the Stadium on their own and keep all the money.

    It's a lose-lose situation for WWE.

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  33. "The wrestling equivalent would be if Rock and Austin never faced each other until 2003."

    That's actually a really good analogy, and pile on top of that that: since boxing isn't seen as "fake", casual sports fans who don't normally care about boxing don't mind jumping on the bandwagon.

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  34. The way I look at it, the $120 they're getting from me for the Network for the year pays for WrestleMania and one other show. Prior to the Network I was buying no shows--though WrestleMania was usually on my radar and a potential buy. Of course I'm not the target customer, but then again the target customer was no longer buying every PPV every month. That's what they mean with "PPV was dying". That dedicated pool of fans was literally shrinking every month. Introducing the Network basically fast-tracked the downward curve so that we see how much money wrestling fans are willing to invest in the business today. Trying to compare the Mayweather/Pacquiano fight to wrestling is silly because that fight was a decade in the making. They won't be doing it again next month or even next year. WWE's made a lot of missteps, but the idea behind the Network is solid enough. It allows them a revenue stream to take advantage of their existing product library, and to replace ever-downward sloping PPV business. Five years from now if wrestling is on a hot streak and they have over 2 or 3 million subscribers they'll end up looking like geniuses. But getting hot again is an entirely different matter...

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  35. This is an unfair comparision. Manny/Money is the last boxing dream match out there, and there won't be another for a decade - at least.

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  36. exactly. Many people look at the current situation of "OH MY GOD LOOK AT HOW MANY BUYS THEY DON'T GET ANYMORE."

    Perhaps the network may never hit a high as when WWE was at the top of their PPV business, but that doesn't matter because that ship sailed a long time ago. Times have changed.

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  37. And that $120/year is nearly full profit whereas PPV $$$ is split up a bunch.


    Of course, the problem is that are you the majority of Network subscribers, or bums like me that have paid $10 for a month and abused 4 months for free after that.

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  38. It would be fascinating to know, from a business perspective, would they view Wrestlemania as a loss leader, to try and build up the rest of their business, as in, potentially take a loss on Wrestlemania, doing anything they can to ensure there are 100k+ people in the stands at Wrestlemania and get the PR bump (plus extra gate and concessions)? Is that even plausible? I don't think that's necessarily a good strategy, but it's a strategy nonetheless.

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  39. But it's a PPV, so it's TOTALLY the same thing as a WWE PPV! Right?

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  40. Based on numbers, though, they AREN'T getting $120 a year off of most people. They aren't even getting $60 a year off of most people. They _might_ be getting about $20-30 a year off of most people.


    If what Scott says is true and WM drew 250K to normal PPV, they made $25m off of WM this year:


    1,000,000 sub x 10 + 250,000 ppv * 60 = $25,000,000


    That's a far cry from the $60,000,000 they made before the Network for that one event, even with 25% more "buyers".

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  41. True, but Mania has never been their loss leader, in fact, it has been their cash cow that helps prop up the rest of the year.

    Mania is like Christmas for a retail store -- the big event that props up shitty sales in the other 11 months. Sure, there are other popular holidays like Father's Day where you might spend some dough, but nothing comes close to touching Christmas.

    One thing WWE hasn't been able to do over the last few years is translate the HUGE buys that Mania gets to getting fans to care for the other parts of the year. Part of the problem is having a stacked card for Mania with guys like Lesnar, Undertaker, Sting, and Triple H, and then having zero of them on the PPV for the following month.

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  42. I'd say their takehome on the Network is 80% (and that's being generous). The takehome on PPV is about 50%


    So, take WM again.


    1,000,000 x 10 x .8 + 250,000 x 60 x .5 = 8,000,000 + 7,500,000 = 15,500,000


    1,000,000 x 60 x .5 = 30,000,000


    They STILL lost 50% of their profit on WM alone. Nevermind your idea that everyone is, or even most people are, subscribing every month. Outside of WM, they seem to be averaging about 750K subscribers per month (again, being generous)

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  43. I totally agree with you about Mania in past year, but now, given they're all-in on the Network, has that reshaped their thinking about the role Wrestlemania plays in their business. I know we've been "taught" in the past to think of Wrestlemania as the culmination of all the WWE activities to that one important point every year. I'm not sure they think that way anymore, and maybe they think of Wrestlemania as their biggest marketing opportunity of the year. I don't think they would (or should) go as far as making it a complete loss leader, but I think they are thinking differently about the role it plays.

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  44. Yeah you're exactly right this is the biggest boxing match since what Evander/Tyson II which grabbed right around 2 million buys. But hey anytime we can bitch and moan about how horrible the WWE is and how awful their business practices are atleast its a change up from the general bitching of Vince and Creative and Triple H's burying skills.

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  45. Wasn't Lewis/Tyson after that second Tyson/Holyfield? If so that was huge too, but point taken - it's been a long time.

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  46. Even if they are losing 50% on Wrestlemania are they not making it up for Battleground and other useless pay per views? Plus didn't like Rogers cable company pay the WWE to carry it? So what are they paying to carry the network? Or is Rogers not paying the WWE to carry the network?

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  47. Also, here's a list of PPV buyrates:

    http://www.2xzone.com/wwe/buyrates.shtml



    Outside of Survivor Series, the numbers up until 2013 weren't significantly down. In fact, they seemed pretty stable. So I don't know where the whole "PPV is dying" meme comes from. All they needed to do is provide a streaming alternative to classic PPV to get WM, and people would have still paid $50-$60 for it.

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  48. Hell I don't know when the last time if ever I watched a boxing pay per view and I've never paid for one but I'm going to pay for this one. So I'm not even a casual boxing fan I just want to see these two guys fight. So yeah you're 100 percent right.

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  49. All true for WrestleMania, but what about the late in the year shows like Night of Champions or TLC. Every year those shows have seen dwindling buys.

    The best way to look at all this is the company's overall yearly profit. It's beem a downward slope for a decade. As much as some may lament the evisceration of PPV, it's really only meant a drop in profitability that can conceivably be regained *if* the product got hot again. That's the real challenge for WWE. The Network *can* work, but we'll never know in a climate where WWE continues to hemorrhage viewers.

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  50. I don't know about the Rogers deal, but they aren't making anything up with Battleground or the like.


    Back when they required a 6-month commitment, they would have been.


    But now? No. I'm sure a chunk of people are "sticking around", but there's also a chunk of people that drop in and out, only coming back whenever the "Big 4" come around.

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  51. I don't think they could give away 100K seats and get people to show up. Just not enough allure for live events anymore, especially for what they'll put on

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  52. Tyson vs. Holyfield II did 1.99 million buys in 1996 . Lewis vs. Tyson did 1.97 million. De La Hoya vs. Mayweather was the highest of all time (2.4 million), and that only happened eight years ago.

    In fact, of the 24 HBO/Showtime boxing events that have done a million buys or more, only 1 of them happened more than 20 years ago (Holyfield vs. Foreman).

    Yeah, boxing was declared dead in 1995.

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  53. Exactly. You just don't have the same casual effect with wrestling. Hell, there are PPV parties going on at venues in every major city at clubs, theaters, and casinos. That's not happening with wrestling.

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  54. See, but I don't buy the "PPV is dying" thing. Look at this site that lists the buyrates through 2013 (pre-network):

    http://www.2xzone.com/wwe/buyrates.shtml



    NONE of the buyrates fluctuated all that much. Outside of a couple of anomaly years, all of the "minor" PPVs did between 200 and 250K buys (give or take, of course).

    The "major" (non-WM) shows did between about 300 and 500K (those seemed to fluctuate more wildly, depending on the program running at the time, but there wasn't really a downward trend that could be attributed to "PPV dying")


    And WM, of course, did around $1M buys each year.


    If they were worried about "PPV dying" in the classic "cable company" sense, then it would be easy enough to stream their PPVs without taking the weird (but great for fans) "Network" approach. Just offer the shows streaming for $10 less a month than it would cost on PPV.


    At this point, can open, worms everywhere. There's no way they can go back.

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  55. I think it's telling, and sad, how I"m much more engaged talking about the WWE's business strategy of their different touchpoints vs. their actual product.

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  56. AverageJoeEverymanApril 30, 2015 at 2:44 PM

    I picture the "PPV is dying meme" as a picture of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka and the top line is "So you are on PPV you say"

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  57. Yes, I'd say it's plausible. That was absolutely 100% the plan behind bringing in Tyson for WM14. Vince was told by his fellow higher-ups that he was crazy to spend that kind of money on Tyson when he was pretty much bleeding cash, but Vince declared that he'd rather lose money to put on a show that draws 500,000 buys than make money on a show that draws 200K.


    The WWF fully believed that they had passed WCW in product quality in 1997, but they simply couldn't draw any eyeballs for long enough for people to know it. Tyson gave them that chance and they ran with it.

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  58. Its more or less WWE Celebration Week now days. They throw a bunch of guys together at the top of the card that don't have much of a story. HHH/Taker, Lesnar/Taker, Even the Rock/Cena matches didn't have much of a story. They are just huge matches to draw in the casuals. The undercard is just randomly thrown together as well. As Scott said though its free money. That 250K is just domestic buys anyway isn't it?

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  59. Great point, I had completely forgotten about that. Without actually knowing what their official strategy is, It's pretty interesting how we, the fans, view Wrestlemania vs. how WWE does. It's pretty crazy to think that they would potentially view their biggest event as a conduit to get more network subscribers than making money on their biggest show, but at least it's plausible.

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  60. It'll never happen, but I'd still watch a Klitschko/Klitschko fight.

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  61. Well how can you say that without knowing about the Rogers deal? Especially that if everyone on here is to believed the WWE product is so bad that they would be losing ppv buys every year anyway. So there are other factors in play here not being considered.

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  62. Mayweather does equal buys. Lesnar vs. Mayweather would be interesting from a ppv buy standpoint.

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  63. It would be interesting to watch a manslaughter happen on live tv lol.

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  64. Ok, so aside from the rare superfight, PPV is not dead but dying.

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  65. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:09 PM

    Is that actually true or is that just some meme we've all heard repeated enough that we pretend its true? I mean, the same thing has held true through all of wrestling and boxing PPV history: put on a show that people want to pay for, and they'll pay for it.


    Was there a period when every boxing match did well just because it was on PPV? No, ofcourse not. When the big stars fought, people paid for it. Same thing today.


    Wrestling, when the product wasn't hot, did terrible PPV numbers in the past. The product isn't hot now, therefore a lot of their PPVs have been declining.



    It's also bizzarre for WWE to hang their whole business model on the PPV is dead meme when Wrestlemania the last 12 years or so has been the most consistently successful PPV product in the history of the company.


    "PPV is dead" is just an excuse for "our product sucks and we can't convince people to buy it."

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  66. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:11 PM

    It's because PPV is dead is a worthless meme that people repeat until they believe its actually true. It's a cop-out for a bad fucking product.

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  67. Burt Macklin, Man Without FearApril 30, 2015 at 3:12 PM

    PPV ain't dead. Running 12 PPV a year is what's dead.

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  68. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:13 PM

    PPV is dead is about as worthless of a statement as "the money is in the chase." No it's not dummy, but hey if you repeat something enough it sure sounds like a fact.

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  69. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:16 PM

    They're absolutely not making it up on the other PPVs, not even close. There's the problem. They're losing money on Mania but it's not working as a loss leader, because their average subs across the rest of the year are still shitty.

    The Network has amounted to WWE giving everyone a huge discount on Wrestlemania.

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  70. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:17 PM

    Dude, it's not about them matching where they were when they were at the top of teh PPV business. They're coming nowhere close to replacing PPV revenue from the year right before the Network started. They're not even close to what they were making when PPV was supposedly "dying".

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  71. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:20 PM

    A Jay-Z or Beyonce fan isn't gonna want to see them do 3 songs at a wrestling show. Guest musician would draw pretty much nobody to the show.

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  72. If they didn't add Wrestlemania to the archives until 30 days later like they do with the RAW episodes, then yes, I would most likely pay $70 for Mania and then also my $10 monthly. But if they were adding it the next day or a week later, I probably would not buy it to watch live.

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  73. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:24 PM

    "I agree that Wrestlemania is maybe the one event they could have kept on
    PPV, but it would only be a short-term thing they could have done for a
    few years." That's such a bogus statement. There's absolutely nothing about the Wrestlemania numbers that would make this at all plausible.

    I agree that a subscription model replacing the majority of their non-Mania PPVs makes sense. I'm not saying fight the technology.

    But there's zero evidence to say that selling Wrestlemania as a standalone show for $60 a pop was something that could only last a few more years. That's bogus, and them jumping to that conclusion is costing them insane amounts of money two years ina row.

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  74. It is kind of a meme that was more true when people first started saying it, but then the numbers leveled off more than most realized. That said WWE itself has been quick to lament the "death of PPV" in justifying the Network, when I think there are really a number of factors in play. Part if it has been a rise in costs, necessitating an increase in buyrates that hasn't materialized. Also the structure of PPV income (i.e. when the PPV providers give WWE their cut) has always been an annoyance to them. I think they were expecting foreign subscribers to be greater than it has been.

    In the end it's really come down to a desire to monetize their library, and with a cable channel having proven to be economically unviable, they decided to go streaming, and they rolled the dice hoping linking it to the PPV product would work. They knew the losses would be huge for a couple years. But there are a few not-impossible formulas whereby they can get back to thecsame level of overall profitability. Just go look at a list of their year-end net profits and you'll see that's not impossible. It just feels right now they're trying harder to fudge the numbers and game investors than work on actually improving the product and assure future sustainability & profit.

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  75. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:27 PM

    Bahahaha. That's another amazing one. Yeah, it's cyclical, but the cycles have absolutely no pattern and we've been in a down one for longer than both of the up ones combined. But that's cause CYCLES.

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  76. Well, think about it this way, you would try to go to a Jay-Z/Beyonce concert, and pay obscene prices nevermind probably having to have good luck to get a ticket in the first place, vs. seeing maybe 3 or 4 songs, a possibly cheaper price (although I haven't been to a concert in years, I'm not sure what tickets are going to for elite musical acts in stadium venues), but having a better chance of getting a ticket to see them to begin with. I think when you're trying to fill that gap between the maxed out wrestling crowd, they probably think that other "entertainment" acts will fill that gap. Now I don't know whether this will turn out to be true, but I get the reasoning (although the best route to take would be to actually have a compelling product in which 100k WRESTLING fans actually attend the show, but that's another story...)

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  77. Adam "Colorado" CurryApril 30, 2015 at 3:29 PM

    Yeah, this. Even at wrestling's peak popularity i don't think 100k would have been realistic. In 2016? I don't care what the card is or how many tickets they comp, 100k ain't happening.

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  78. WM did twice that with Daniel Bryan in the main event last year and same network business model.

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  79. Adam "Colorado" CurryApril 30, 2015 at 3:32 PM

    They're bringing LT back? Wait, you said woman beater, not sex offender.

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  80. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:33 PM

    Yup, Mania 30 did way better business than Mania 31. What they increased in Network subs didn't come close to replacing what they lost in traditional PPV buys.

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  81. Exactly they need to make ppvs every couple months and have stories that pay off in 3 4 months. They complain that the audience has short attention spans,but they have 3 hours if raw smack down and a monthly ppv

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  82. Don't get me wrong. As a fan, I love it. It's the thing every one of us has always dreamed of, and the first thing I did when I got the Network was go and watch the shows I never got to (we were too poor -- we'd eventually rent some of then on VHS, but only well after the shows themselves) when I was a kid.


    I think all of us want them to succeed. I think the only way for them to do that is to improve their product and draw more viewers (even the die-hardiest of die-hards isn't going to stick around for 3 or 4 years because of old content)

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  83. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:37 PM

    It's funny, even though Meltzer is the guy who argues that 93k is a fake number, he's also of the opinion that if the stadium could have actually held 93k or even 100k, then they would have filled it. The interest in that event was that strong.


    He also makes the same case for Austin/Rock at mania 17, that basically they could have sold 100k tickets if the stadium had that capacity.


    So at it's absolute PEAKS, WWE maybe could have filled 100k seat stadiums. Obviously they're about as far from their "peak" as one could get right now.

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  84. To be fair the whole "PPV is dying" thing isn't just about wrestling/boxing but now more about the technology. As bandwidth capacity increases/improves across the country, streaming content is rapidly rendering traditional cable & PPV irrelevant.

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  85. It's true I'm more interested behind the scenes and talking about the old days then what's going on now. It feels like the 70s justice League show where everyone says the same stuff just in a different voice

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  86. Actually it's not and you are looking at the history of PPV instead of the future of it.

    It is easy to look at the past.

    The model is changing.

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  87. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:39 PM

    Sure, I could see why they would try to convince themselves why that could work, because yeah they're gonna get to a point when they have to accept that their shitty wrestling product isn't gonna be able to do it. So they'll throw shit at the wall.


    But looking at it rationally, there's no way that works. In the end you've still got to convince people to buy tickets to WRESTLEMANIA, and people are gonna make their decision based on that alone.

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  88. Exactly after the fight then what? The heavyweight division doesn't have a big star and mayweather is getting older

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  89. Yea tyson holy field 2 was 97 and tyson Lewis was 2002

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  90. The traditional PPV format is dying simply due to TV consumers declining since 2013. And it's obviously going to progress further as the next generation becomes adults.

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  91. Of course they haven't. It will be a long time until they get close to it.

    Still doesn't change my point. Pushing a change of modality is going to incur a big hit. They look silly now but in a few years they will look smart.

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  92. Well, yeah, in the traditional sense. But I think the problem is that they could do "Pay Per View" via streaming services. Heck, I can rent movies and events through all sorts of streaming outlets. Concept is still the same, if the technology isn't.

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  93. Everybody who is saying it's 5 years too late is forgetting that Tyson vs. Holyfield was too and that delivered huge.

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  94. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:44 PM

    Right, but it's not rendering the idea of "people pay a price for a thing or event" irrelevant. Streaming as a distribution model makes tons of sense, totally. As everyday goes by more people will have the capability to stream content onto their TVs, and more people will be comfortable with it.

    But it's still a giant leap from that idea to the WWE Network model, in which they way underprice all their assets and pretty much minimize the earning potential of the most reliable asset they have, Wrestlemania.

    Which is to say they could have capitalized on the streaming technology without turning Wrestlemania into a $10 product to pretty much no other benefit.

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  95. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:44 PM

    Exactly. I haven't bought a movie off of PPV in forever, but I've bought them off of my Apple TV's itunes on occassion.

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  96. When you get the Network for $10 a month and Raw is actually longer than the PPVs you really need SOMETHING to distinguish the PPVs from the Raws like a longer build and maybe not making singularly idiotic booking decisions like jobbing acts that are catching on like Brass Ring Club.

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  97. I'm a year in as a subscriber and as much as I support the idea & value, even I am *that* close to cancelling.

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  98. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:48 PM

    I think turning Wrestlemania into a $10 product really really hurts the chance that they're gonna "look smart" in a few years in regards to their Network model. They completely devalued probably the most important asset in teh company, and it didn't come close to increasing the overall Network business in a way that makes up for it.

    And the fact that they've already gone to the month-to-month model makes it that much harder for Wrestlemania to goose the overall yearly subscription average.

    The subscription model overall is an idea worth trying. But they completely fucked themselves by making Mania a $10 product. It's pretty clear that the customer base just isn't there to have made that worthwhile.

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  99. I think they would have had a really, really hard time selling this year's Wrestlemania. There was a huge lack of star power for the show, a negative buzz from the fanbase, and the Rock and Rousey appearances were not advertised.

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  100. It did better business since there was better buzz, better stories going into the event, and more interest in the guy the show was built around. This year's Wrestlemania could have been bigger, it's not like WM30 was huge on star power.

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  101. I thought Mayweather vs. Canelo did way more than De La Hoya vs. Mayweather.

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  102. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:52 PM

    I gotta say, it's unreal how bad the PPVs have been in the Network Era. The most starless roster they've presented since the pre-Attitude Era days, months of world title-less PPVs, a real drop in workrate, terrible gimmick matches... at a time when they needed to put their best foot forward, they absolutely put out some of the worst PPVs in over a decade..

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  103. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:53 PM

    You're just spitting out cliches bud.

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  104. The UFC B-PPV numbers are in decline too. I really question the business decision of stripping their biggest draw for conduct. They would have been better off giving him a half year suspension. They punish him and make cash off the controversy.

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  105. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    Sure, but you can still use the "traditional PPV model" on a streaming distribution. I'm not saying they needed to be tied in only to the cable companies. It's not about the cable companies.

    It's about devaluing assets. Wrestlemania as a standalone product for $60 would still have made them gobs of money for years and years and years, there's no data that says otherwise. There's a million ways to use streaming technology to get that to people. In fact, the technology could be used to sell MORE of Wrestlemania at that price.

    Devaluing Wrestlemania to a $10 product was the giant goof.

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  106. The brass ring club is on t.v? I haven't watched raw except for brock. The bod has been joking about that for a while.

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  107. been that way for years for me. Basically since around 2004ish, although I kept on watching most weeks until 2007

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  108. Plus, unless they do this exact fight again. (On account of Pacquioa winning or some such) This is the last big prize for the next decade at least. Holyfield V. Tyson was 20 years ago and is the last fight that came close to this card. So we're also comparing a once every ten years number to 120 WWE pay per views over that same period.

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  109. If Mayweather wins and the decision feels like shenanigans like Pac/Bradley they would absolutely do another. They're just leaving money on the table. Only way they don't rematch is if Mayweather wins a KO or a dull decision.

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  110. Oh totally. I'm rooting for Pac, and if he won in a good match? Then have Mayweather win the next one and go for the best of three.


    slightly diminishing returns, but when you're at numbers like these it barely matters.

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  111. Whether Mayweather can go 49-0 is also interesting due to the Marciano curse. There are a ton of angles. It's not like WWE being able to make up fake milestones like Punk holding the title for 500 days and somehow fucking that up.

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  112. The Mayweather legit punch on Show was a good angle. The payoff match and all subsequent angles were awful except I did love the Mayweather entourage guys. "He can't be doin' that! He can't be steppin' on him!"

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  113. ppv ain't dead/ you heard what I said/ how the f--- is ppv dead when b*******s still giving me head
    -Pimp C
    Well, he said something like that.

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  114. Let's not forget porn...

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  115. MaffewOfBotchamaniaApril 30, 2015 at 5:09 PM

    No, really. Who called boxing PPV dead in 1995?

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  116. PPV isn't dead or dying, but it's pretty stupid to use a once-in-a-lifetime (so far), years-in-the-making boxing dream match as a comparison point to Generic WWE B-Show, May 2015.

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  117. I really truly think that McMahon believes that the "WWE Name" is enough for people to keep watching and want to pay for the Network.


    In a sense, he's right.


    Think about it. Say that TNA started to put on amazing shows with amazing angles for a long sustained period (I know. I know. But grant me the premise anyway)


    How long would it be before they could even come close to WWE numbers? Years maybe, if ever?


    WWE is a self-sustaining machine in many ways. Except for the nerds of us (myself included) who like wrestling even in the worst of times, if most people give up on WWE, they've given up on wrestling entirely.


    If WWE were a smaller show, and were putting on shows like they have been for the last few years, if they weren't out of business yet, they'd be circling the drain.

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  118. I still have this illogical thing in my head that a monthly subscription feels almost like a bill. Like paying an energy company or something. Paying for one PPV is a splurge, a last minute decision, like the chocolate near the checkout in a supermarket. Not that WWE would want people to know push they can cancel anytime, but perhaps some don't want another direct debit coming out of their account.

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  119. I can't believe that many people bought the Orton vs. Big Show Survivor Series in 2013.

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  120. cabspaintedyellowApril 30, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    It's kind of a double-edged sword tied to the current TV model. WWE could easily create the big fight atmosphere with the guys they have if they didn't have those same guys fighting each other twice a week on Raw and Smackdown.


    You could have Reigns killing jobbers one-by-one, Ambrose mowing through midcard feud after midcard feud without losing, and Rollins making one successful title defense after another against credible challengers. Hint at interactions, but never have them face off. Then, a few months down the line, you have a legit money match in a Shield three-way.


    But, obviously, they can't do that, because they need to prop up those quarter hours, and Reigns killing Adam "In the ring to my left..." Rose isn't going to get it done.

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  121. Look, why should I buy a PPV/Network subscription to see the same guys fight that I see every week for free on RAW and Smackdown?

    Lesnar draws because you can't see him fight except on PPV. But why should I pay to see Orton vs. Reigns vs. Rollins? We've seen the three of them in the same match at least three times since WrestleMania alone.

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  122. MaffewOfBotchamaniaApril 30, 2015 at 5:35 PM

    You use a lot of words, but they're all correct.

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  123. I've got lots of free time and nobody standing over my shoulder editing me. ;)

    And thanks.

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  124. WWE could've phased out using the big stars constantly after WCW was dead and buried and had that monster roster. Hell, they could've done it after the brand extension ended and had a big roster again. But they're stuck in the mentality that they have to constantly use the same 20 guys on Raw and Smackdown, and then use the most over-exposed 12 on the PPV.

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  125. This is boxing's last hurrah. After Saturday, there's nothing that will be able to draw at this level for boxing ever again. Plus, the boxing industry as a whole is basically dead. There was a Heavyweight Championship fight at Madison Square Garden last week and it got no mainstream covearge. UFC is also now starting to experience the same thing, they over saturated the market with lower-quality shows at the same price without the stars to justify the top price and the brand got devalued. When Punk signed with UFC I figured UFC's numbers and their PPV numbers were down 55 percent per show from 2009. PPV from now on will sell on somebody's name (Mayweather, Rousey, Lesnar, WrestleMania) not on the sport's brand on it's own

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  126. cabspaintedyellowApril 30, 2015 at 5:39 PM

    They could still phase out big stars now, but it would take YEARS for it to take hold, and in that time, ratings would plummet. Eventually, they'd even out again, but it takes a long time to train an audience.


    Actually, now that I think about it, three-hour Raws now mean there's absolutely no way to put the genie back in the bottle. They're pretty much locked into putting on some kind of star-driven, PPV-esque match every week.

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  127. Oh yeah, the ship has totally sailed now once they committed to 3 hours. There was two big opportunities to do it, and they blew it

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  128. The company's financial health is now basically dependent on TV rights fees. NBC Universal isn't going to pay $50 some-odd million for squash matches

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  129. cabspaintedyellowApril 30, 2015 at 5:50 PM

    Pretty much. For as much as they say the brand itself is the star, they still need to give people some reason to watch.

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  130. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 6:01 PM

    Yeah it's always been that way

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  131. Worst_in_the_WorldApril 30, 2015 at 6:04 PM

    Never Forget

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  132. Lol at Scott at no selling the macho question.

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  133. Serious question because ive been in England the past few years. What else is on PPV besides boxing and from what I read wrestling in some places?

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  134. Drew Carey's Improv All-Stars of course!

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  135. Right? Let's see boxing put on a superfight every month.

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  136. People PAY for porn?!?!?!

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  137. I think this about covers it.

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  138. Ufc, is that still a thing.

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  139. It's a multi year, so technically they could. Nbc just wouldn't be happy.

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  140. Forgot about that. So basically sex, fighting, Drew carrys all star improv and Howard Sterns Butt bongo fiesta. So there ya go for those wondering if ppv is dead. Unless those things dissappear for the first time in the history of mankind, ppv isnt going anywhere.

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  141. 4 million buys? After a screwy finish, think of what the rematch.will draw.

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  142. I actually ordered that because my grandma liked the show and found him charming so I treated her.

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  143. Seriously, who still buys porn

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  144. I still remember the big boxing matches of the 90's when people were parachuting into the ring and when Bowe v Golota caused a riot in MSG . I always hated the 12 round decisions because the judges almost always got them wrong.

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  145. None of us know how the revenue is split, but mania 30 had roughly 375,000 more ppv buy, but 31 had roughly 800,000 more network buys. At worst they broke even not including any added network expense.

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  146. Im not sure but they do say it's a billion dollar industry. So someone is I guess. Unless they count stuff lile eazy glide and dildos. But even so.thats a lot of dildos.

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  147. I've always liked boxing more than mma. Some of the shit they're pulled is straight out of wrestling.

    They're already setting it up. Apparently pac doesn't like the choice of ref.

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  148. People that still use AOL to go online.

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  149. Yes, but if they fought 3 times on free tv, but the fourth match was a Russian chain match then it'd do monster business.

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  150. Oh man did Lou Duva go batshit when the fight was stopped.

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  151. Getting people to spend $30 a month for a three hour show is dead. Let alone $60 or $70.

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  152. Pretty disappointed that Dana Brooke didn't bring back The Cunt Punt as her new finisher after that great vag kick on Blue Pants.

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  153. Dana's already made it clear that Ronda's not going to work Wrestlemania next year. We're more likely to see Gina Carano fight Ronda Rousey then we are to see Ronda work at Mania and that fight isn't going to happen either.

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  154. Wouldn't it be 2 million worldwide? Because the show sure as shit ain't $100 in the UK.

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  155. Well, when they can spend $10 instead, yeah, but if it's worth paying for, people will pay for it. It's that simple.

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  156. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!May 1, 2015 at 6:04 AM

    They still get the decisions wrong a lot.


    But I agree, boxing was great in the 80's and 90's.

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  157. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!May 1, 2015 at 6:06 AM

    You know what Manny should do if he doesn't like the ref or judges....just knock Floyd out. That would fix it all.

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  158. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!May 1, 2015 at 6:10 AM

    Boxing PPVs have always been about who the name is on the marquee. No-name guys should stick to HBO or Showtime fights....beat up 15-20 guys, get your name out there, and then go for the big PPV. The problem is, they throw these guys out there quick, make nothing on PPV, and then the guy is ruined. It's happened a lot in the last 10 years especially.

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  159. I wouldn't even have paid $100 for this fight 3-5 years ago when it would have really mattered.

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  160. Used to? They STILL get all the decisions wrong!

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  161. He should have - that was bullsh*t. Meldrick Taylor deserved that win

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  162. ppv ain't dead.....these hoes just scared

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  163. Porn will never die

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  164. Ha!! I stopped watching years ago.. I assumed it was better.

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  165. With the exception of Roy Jones at the Olympics (88?), I think they are marginally worse now.

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  166. I'm going to have to disagree. I think it's the ref's job to treat every instance the same. If that knockdown happened in the first 10 seconds of the fight. He would have stopped the fight the same as he did in the last 10 seconds.


    Taylor absolutely won 99% of that fight... but it was the 1% that mattered.

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  167. Only wrestling fans would complain about not having to drop $40+ to watch an event.

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  168. Which means he should have a) turned around and directed Chavez to a neutral corner and b) Given Taylor a reasonable chance to respond to prompting.

    Also, What was there to protect him from? There was NO TIME for Chavez to land another shot - unless he was already across the ring. It was clearly a BAD STOPPAGE.....though I don't think Steele was on the take. I think it was an honest error in judgment.

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  169. Stuart_ChartockMay 1, 2015 at 9:53 PM

    He's oddly leathery.

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  170. Different circumstances.

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  171. Does it even matter who really wins the fight at this point? It's basically a work at this point and it's in the WrestleMania dream match stage where the winner and loser doesn't matter. It may be a nice feather in the cap for Manny to become the 1 in 47-1 but both these guys are years past their prime. The real spectacle was getting the fight signed and everybody marveling at how expensive the fight is on PPV and how much the tickets cost. It has the legitimacy of the Rocky Balboa/Thunderlips match in Rocky III. It's an "event" not a sporting contest.


    I so want the fight to end early because of an accidental headset or something and have it be a No Contest.

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  172. Not meta they call her the Total Diva

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