The true scope of WWE is difficult to gauge. This article is an attempt to do that.
Jim Cornette has a salient point when he admonishes the current wrestling landscape. In some respects, it is nowhere near as popular as it used to be. In the halcyon, pre-cable TV days of the territory system, lone state territories like World Class in Texas promoted stadium shows at its peak. Mid-South frequently ran the New Orleans Superdome years before WrestleMania existed, let alone before WrestleMania XXX was held there. The highest attendance, at 23,800 in 1978, was dwarfed by Daniel Bryan's celebratory night - but WWE, the supposed international monolith, barely approaches that number the other 364 days of the year.
Revenue tells a different story; WWE may not be as popular, but it's more lucrative. 2016 was a record-breaking year for WWE; revenue drawn was a mammoth $792.2M, a not inconsiderable portion of which manifested as profit after a shaky but ultimately successful transitional period for the Network.
Revenue streams have become more diverse. International TV rights are more lucrative than ever before. WWE promotes more house shows than it ever has. WWE has saturated its audience with content, content, content - and that content drives the company's bottom line.
WWE's recent strategic approach means we'll see an increase of it, if anything - but how sustainable is it?