Live events are the historical bread and butter of the wrestling business. However, in 2021 it's become more lucrative as a TV product, and just like with other sports or live events attendance is down. Creating a case where actually for WWE where they may actually be better of not running live events at all or minimally as we saw in 2020 where they had record profits. In some years prior the live event revenue stream actually ran at a negative despite changes to ticket prices or even the change of amounts of shows they run.
This is where WWE has an opportunity to start fresh and get away from the trap of having to do things they've done forever as the standard. They have had to change everything in their business, how fans can be part of their shows, having to tape shows, and even having cinematic matches to help give a big match feel. With the world start to get closer to being somewhat normal and cities allowing more and more things to reopen and people to gather it's only natural for WWE to revisit their roots.
Their roots of traveling the United States and bringing their family-friendly product to your town for your kids and you to see. However, the WWE is a business and as I've mentioned before Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan isn't in the business of losing money. As a matter of fact, he's in the business of maximizing revenues and generating profits over anything else. This is why I think we will not see WWE go back to its traditional form of traveling and instead have a much more lean process that reduces the costs of the shows.
First, it's highly possible that arenas will be looking to just find ways to generate revenue as they have been hit hard with not being able to provide attractions and make money. This could allow for WWE or other promotions to have more financial flexibility when they go in for negotiations of using their building. This could allow you to potentially sign for multiple shows at the arena for less money throughout the course of the year than in the past.
WWE has also shown that they can take the Thunderdome on the road, this could help play a part in helpful negotiations. In the past, WWE might be timid to rent out a massive NBA arena for every Monday Night Raw or Smackdown due to the way it would appear on TV. Lots of open seats however limiting yourself to smaller buildings cuts off many different ways you can sell tickets. Having the Thunderdome be a traveling top-level section could help you sell more tickets at less cost because you have a lot more seats to fill.
So now as I've proposed the WWE can rent larger buildings than in the past, without fear of it looking bad on television and can do so at a lower cost than normal due to the arena's wanting to recuperate some lost revenue over the last year. Also being able to sell these larger arenas they can sell tickets at a cheaper rate but sell more of them, thus generating more revenue as it's always been stated their high-end tickets tend to go first.
Now we've established the above, let's look at the actual logistics of touring and making the most sense. Let me start with NXT as it's the simplest equation, NXT runs every Wednesday from Orlando, Fl and they continue to travel just in Florida as they were before in smaller locations. Touring just on Thursday and Friday would give the talent Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday as days not in the ring.
For Raw, I would have them tour on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday giving those competitors Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off the road. While doing that I'd have my Smackdown crew working live events/television on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This would give them Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off the road. WWE should also consider breaking all their tours into regions and only making stops multiple times a year in places that see sellouts.
If a place isn't selling out, drop the number of times you go there, by dropping the supply of it you could artificially increase the demand for the product and so when you go back you then see more tickets sold in the area. This brings me to the final point of how touring should look for WWE and it would also help build up stars and that's, interactions with the fans.
There is no reason that WWE couldn't have a meet and greet with two or three of the top stars from that brand before the show. Have them signing autographs for people who paid for a more expensive ticket, take pictures, and getting them excited for the show. It's been well-documented parents are willing to pay for experiences for their children, especially if it involves them meeting some of their favorite stars. Have one champion and then maybe two people who are backstage but not on the show come out and interact with the fans. This increases the value of your entertainment without increasing the cost to the business for the value increase.
Overall my plan would give talents 3 days a week off every single week because Network Special events are always on the weekends and in this schedule, weekends are always to be worked for Raw or Smackdown talents. For NXT talents you are only set on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday typically so when you do have to work Saturday or Sunday you still have at least three days off.
This allows a better work/life balance for those Superstars in WWE and should also help with limiting injuries and helping recharge the batteries. Also with running larger arenas at a discounted rate, it should help generate maximum revenue with the Thunderdome being there as a crutch when seats are filled to their liking. Finally the meet and greet, interactive aspect is an easy way to boost excitement for your young audience and help these stars elevate their star power. This is how I would like to see WWE tackle touring moving forward, as it's expected that soon after WrestleMania we could be seeing WWE in a city or town near you.
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