WWE issued a surprising press release this afternoon noting that, WrestleMania 30 reached a record 1 million households in the U.S. alone on WWE Network and pay-per-view combined, the first time WrestleMania has eclipsed this mark domestically. With more than 667,000 WWE Network subscribers in the U.S. and nearly 400,000 domestic pay-per-view buying homes for WrestleMania 30, WWE is confident that it will reach its goal of 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014. Last week, WWE had announced that the WWE Network had 667,287 subscribers a number which had disappointed many observers and led to an immediately stock price drop. However, as we noted, wed need a complete picture (Wrestlemania buys plus WWE Network subscriptions) before we could truly judge the financial implications. Wrestlemania Buys 2006: 636,000 domestic (975,000 worldwide) 2007: 825,000 domestic (1,250,000 worldwide) 2008: 697,000 domestic (1,041,000 worldwide) 2009: 605,000 domestic (975,000 worldwide) 2010: 495,000 domestic (885,000 worldwide) 2011: 679,000 domestic (1,124,000 worldwide) 2012: 715,000 domestic (1,219,000 worldwide) 2013: 662,000 domestic (1,104,000 worldwide) 2014: 667,289 WWE Network plus nearly 400,000 domestic PPV buying homes Assuming that without the WWE Network, the average number of domestic buys for Wrestlemania is approximately 625,000 households, the 400,000 full-price purchasers suggest that more than three out of five WWE households (64%) still chose to purchase the event via cable or satellite systems. Well have a much better read for Extreme Rules just how many full price holdouts there are. Understanding the true motivation of these fans (unable to order the WWE Network due to lack of broadband, afraid the WWE Stream would crash, unclear how to watch WWE Network on their television, etc.) will give us a better idea of potential future growth of the domestic WWE Network. Overall, WWE should be pleased with the buys for Wrestlemania. While the initial WWE Network subscription numbers were lower than expected, this suggests there may be a more fertile ground for acquiring future WWE Network subscribers. However, in order to reach a million subscribers by end of the 2014, theyd need to convert almost 85% of the holdouts which is a pretty tall order. Another interesting question is whether this stronger-than-expected pool of PPV buyers will encourage more Cable and Satellite Providers to continue carrying WWE PPVs. One would expect that DirecTV knew how well Wrestlemania 30 did on their system and yet they still (allegedly) have decided not to carry WWE PPVs going forward.
I'm a professional wrestling analyst, an improviser and an avid NES gamer. I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota and I'm working on my first book (#wrestlenomics). You can contact me at email@example.com or on twitter (@mookieghana)