|>> || |
> But drawing 4,200 fans in a secondary market for a show heavily promoted on the Internet may be a guide for what type of drawing power the group will have when it’s not the big traveling show like they’ve done in Las Vegas and twice in Chicago with the immediate sellouts and ridiculous ticket demand. If anything, it will become harder to draw running weekly, and on Wednesday nights instead of Saturdays. With WWE’s TV tapings having mixed results and all the advantages they have in visibility, the idea AEW would be able to run NBA arenas seems very optimistic. But the idea is still for television to expand the viewing base. It worked greatly for UFC. It’s obviously been the key for WWE. It worked to an extent for TNA, but they never were able to draw for big weekly shows or PPVs even during a period when they had 1.5 million viewers, as their biggest U.S. crowd in history was 6,700.
> But early on, this number and the Jacksonville number on 7/13 (which is expected to come close to selling out a 5,180-seat set up) for big pushed shows are probably better than they can expect for a weekly Wednesday night show at first. But the question is, and has always been, how much does weekly television exposure expand the fan base, increase the ticket buyer and PPV buyers above the limitations of a pure social media promotion. But a lot of AEW’s success is also based on a fan base that hates WWE, and if WWE is able to turn things around product-wise, AEW will have trouble being the cool alternative if the main product is cool. They need an uncool WWE product to really become competitive.
> The show was considered a success on BR Live. The three-and-a-half hour broadcast averaged 140,000 viewers if you were to figure it like a television show. There were a total of 350,000 different viewers during the course of the live show and those numbers likely increased significantly with replay viewing. This is still very knew so establishing what this means is difficult. The 350,000 doesn’t correlate with YouTube numbers, since every view, including multiple by the same people, or just views inflated when YouTube sends you to a new video, isn’t the case here. We do know that AEW and BR Live had first talked about the idea of signing up more than 100,000 new subscribers to the channel, although after more input the feeling was that number would be higher. Not all 350,000 were new sign-ups, because there were 35,000 who signed up previously buying Double or Nothing on PPV. In addition, some of the 350,000, although likely not a high percentage, were already BR Live subscribers.
> For a comparison, ESPN+ credited its first UFC broadcast in January, a show headlined by Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw, with 568,000 new sign-ups over two days. That number was considered a shocking success. ESPN+ was also a pay service, although sign-ups for that fight were free. If a new company with no television could do 300,000, or anything close to that level, it would have to be considered a big success. We don’t know how this show did compared to other BR Live programming.
> If that show did 568,000 subscribers, and that show was on television, one would expect a match like that on that night to do about 1.5 million viewers, perhaps more. But that doesn’t mean because they could nearly triple that AEW would be expected to get 1 million viewers from the get go on television because there are too many unknown variables. We do AEW has a small but ridiculously fervent audience, as noted by ticket on sales and merchandise sales, but this show, even with all the social media push, did not crack the top 20 searches for that night, which UFC did for both its show and for Francis Ngannou. Still, nobody expects AEW to be as mainstream right now as UFC is.
> There are no direct comparisons that really fit with pro wrestling. A show like WrestleMania or Royal Rumble legitimately get in excess of 1 million viewers the day of the show, but that’s also a worldwide number and not a U.S. number, which would be roughly triple what this show did. But WWE Network, also available free to new subscribers, is a subscription service so it’s not a fair comparison.
> WWE also did its live Facebook plus mixed match challenge shows. As far as a live average viewership, those shows would range from 35,000 to 70,000 depending on the week of the course of the 20 minute show. Facebook Watch isn’t a sign up service, so it should do more than a sign-up service, and the 35,000 to 70,000 figure would be compared to the 140,000 figure and not the 350,000. WWE also had the advantage that it put its show on directly after Smackdown, and would direct viewers do it during both Raw and Smackdown. And a 20 minute or 30 minute time commitment is much easier than three-and-a-half hours. Still, Mixed Match Challenge was just added unnecessary WWE programming as opposed to a pushed major show. But even so, WWE also has tremendous visibility advantages and putting on a live event right after a live television show on a more convenient platform and doing one-quarter to one-half of what AEW did is clearly a success.
> Outside North America, the show was broadcast on Fite TV, and did about 14,000 iPPV buys. That’s a very good number. Nobody expected Double or Nothing level of buys. Double or Nothing did 20,000 outside the U.S. but DON aired on ITV Box Office while Fyter Fest did not. The U.K. iPPV buys were up, but that’s also because you had the DON television buyers that, if they wanted to see this show, had to do so through Fite.
> Another lesson of this show as far as streaming went is that on B/R Live, DON, as a PPV, saw almost everyone watch from start-to-finish, since people were paying for it. For this show, as the difference between 140,000 and 350,000 shows, a lot of people tuned in and out. When you make something free, it gives it a value, and people could watch some, watch UFC, go to the movies, or whatever and come back later. Or some could watch for a while, stop and come back the next day or later, or watch, be turned off, and give up on the show without the idea they paid for it and thus should watch it until the finish.
> A lot more will be learned in two weeks with Fight for the Fallen. The iPPV price will slightly higher since that will be part of the charitable contribution. In the U.S., it’ll be live on BR. At press time, five matches have been announced, headlined by Cody & Dustin Rhodes vs. The Young Bucks, plus Kenny Omega vs. Cima, Hangman Page vs. Kip Sabian, Jimmy Havoc & Joey Janela & Darby Allin vs. MJF & Shawn Spears & Sammy Guevara, and Brandi Rhodes vs. Allie. There is a storyline with MJF and Spears on the same team, as MJF, even though a heel, is friends with Cody and helped him to the back and they showed Spears and MJF having words backstage after Spears had laid out Cody with the chair shot.
> Brandi Rhodes, on the Road to Fight for the Fallen on 7/3, gave an unbelievable emotional interview tying this match to her disappointments in herself during her figure skating career as a teenager.