Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hulk Hogan's Effect on Attendance in WWF from 1984-1991 - analysis by Chris Harrington

I took a stab at the question: What were Hulk Hogan's attendance numbers like, on average, in the 80s?

I looked at 19,000+ WWWF/WWF/WWE shows from thehistoryofwwe.com from 1963-2013 and pulled attendance numbers for the shows from the descriptions (about six thousand of the shows).

Keep in mind:
* Attendance quotes from this era are hardly a scientific number because "announced" figures were exaggerated and I have no idea where these estimates originally came from.
* Obviously Hogan was going to work the largest cities. The other crews went to the smaller markets, so it's likely to be skewed towards the tours that Hogan (as the top guy) was on.
* I have estimates for a portion of the shows, usually about 40% from 1984 through 1991. The smaller cities are more likely to be the cities without estimates so you're getting an incomplete picture.
* Exceptionally large events (like PPVs) are going to skew the numbers which Hogan was very likely to work.

1984: 693 shows (65 shows w/ attendance figures and Hogan matches, 94 shows with attendance figures without Hogan matches)
1985: 668 shows (84 shows w/ attendance figures and  Hogan matches, 169 shows with attendance figures without Hogan matches)
1986: 746 shows (106 shows w/ attendance figures and Hogan matches, 185 shows with attendance figures without Hogan matches)
1987: 754 shows (123 shows w/ attendance figures and  Hogan matches, 225 shows with attendance figures without Hogan matches)
1988: 637 shows (66 shows w/ attendance figures and Hogan matches, 191 shows with attendance figures without Hogan matches)
1989: 640 shows (88 shows w/ attendance figures and Hogan matches, 146 shows with attendance figures without Hogan matches)
1990: 670 shows (63 shows w/ attendance figures and Hogan matches, 220 shows with attendance figures without Hogan matches)
1991: 490 shows (71 shows w/ attendance figures and Hogan matches, 133 shows with attendance figures without Hogan matches)

Average Attendance
1984: 10,857 attendance for shows with Hogan / 5,737 attendance for shows without Hogan
1985: 11,437 attendance for shows with Hogan / 6,407 attendance for shows without Hogan
1986: 11,756 attendance for shows with Hogan / 6,292 attendance for shows without Hogan
1987: 10,440 attendance for shows with Hogan / 4,770 attendance for shows without Hogan
1988: 10,354 attendance for shows with Hogan / 5,338 attendance for shows without Hogan
1989: 10,983 attendance for shows with Hogan / 5,802 attendance for shows without Hogan
1990: 10,404 attendance for shows with Hogan / 4,778 attendance for shows without Hogan
1991: 9,767 attendance for shows with Hogan / 5,233 attendance for shows without Hogan
1984-1991: 10,804 attendance for shows with Hogan / 5,483 attendance for shows without Hogan

Is it definitive?

As you go through the cities, you certainly find examples of both where Hogan drew more in a given city than the tours without him and times when the numbers are very similar.

Consider: a city like Vancouver, British Columbia; we have six shows with attendance figures - three with Hogan (average 10,500) and three without Hogan (average 4,148).
Still, they're in different years, with different line-ups. Here were the cards:

Hogan Shows
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - BC Place - July 5, 1986 (16,000+)
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Big John Studd
Also included WWF Tag Team Champions Davey Boy Smith & the Dynamite Kid

WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - PNE Coliseum - December 2, 1990 (about 10,000)
WWF Tag Team Champion Jim Neidhart pinned Demolition Smash
Black Bart pinned Koko B. Ware
The Legion of Doom defeated the Orient Express & Mr. Fuji in a handicap match
Tugboat pinned Dino Bravo
Davey Boy Smith pinned Buddy Rose
Sgt. Slaughter pinned Jim Duggan
WWF IC Champion Mr. Perfect defeated Kerry Von Erich via count-out; Roddy Piper was the guest referee for the bout
Earthquake defeated Hulk Hogan via count-out

WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - Pacific Coliseum - July 7, 1991 (5,500)
Ricky Steamboat vs. the Brooklyn Brawler
Tugboat vs. Koko B. Ware
Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty vs. Paul Roma & Hercules
Bret Hart vs. IRS
Virgil vs. Ted Dibiase
The Legion of Doom vs. WWF Tag Team Champions the Nasty Boys
Davey Boy Smith vs. WWF IC Champion Mr. Perfect
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter (Desert Storm match)

Non-Hogan Shows
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - December 6, 1984 (1,700)
Gama Singh defeated Ben Bassarab
Bret Hart defeated Mr. Fuji
Moondog Spot defeated Steve Austin (Ray Evans)
Angelo Mosca defeated the Iron Sheik in a Death Match
WWF Women's Champion Wendi Richter defeated the Fabulous Moolah
George Wells defeated Nikolai Volkoff via disqualification
Tony Atlas defeated Moondog Rex
Tito Santana defeated WWF IC Champion Greg Valentine via count-out

WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - PNE Coliseum - September 9, 1986 (7,000)
Owen Hart pinned Moose Morowski
Iron Mike Sharpe pinned Terry Gibbs
Danny Spivey pinned Bret Hart
Jim Neidhart pinned Mike Rotundo
Billy Jack Haynes defeated Bob Orton Jr. via disqualification
Tito Santana pinned Nikolai Volkoff
WWF IC Champion Randy Savage defeated George Steele via count-out
Big & Super Machine defeated Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy via disqualification

WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - July 21, 1990 (3,744)
Shane Douglas pinned Black Bart
WWF World Champion the Ultimate Warrior pinned Rick Rude
Paul Roma pinned Paul Diamond
Nikolai Volkoff pinned Boris Zhukov
Koko B. Ware pinned the Genius
The Bushwhackers defeated Greg Valentine & the Honkytonk Man via disqualification
The Big Bossman pinned Ted Dibiase

It is conclusive proof? Hardly; but it's an interesting example. 

However, there's a lot of missing attendance figures for other cards in this city including:
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - February 25, 1985
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - January 26, 1985
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - November 9, 1986
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - PNE Coliseum - May 16, 1986
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - PNE Coliseum - September 5, 1986
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - January 22, 1987
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - Pacific Coliseum - May 14, 1987
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - PNE Coliseum - September 1, 1987
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - PNE Coliseum - November 10, 1987 (Had Hogan wrestling)
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - PNE Coliseum - January 18, 1988 (Had Hogan wrestling)
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - July 1988
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - Pacific Coliseum - August 27, 1988
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - Pacific Coliseum - December 12, 1988
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - PNE Coliseum - October 17, 1988
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - Pacific Coliseum - February 28, 1989
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - PNE Coliseum - December 8, 1989
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - PNE Coliseum - July 1, 1989
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - March 19, 1990
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - May 24, 1991
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - Pacific Coliseum - February 20, 1991
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - Pacific Coliseum - November 2, 1991
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - January 10, 1992
WWF @ Vancouver, British Columbia - Pacific Coliseum - June 11, 1992

Without all of these other datapoints, there's certainly a lot of selection bias in play when you're looking at which cities Hogan went on tour and which cities Hogan did not.

-Chris Harrington (chris.harrington@gmail.com)

1 comment:

Dale Goulet said...

Angelo Mosca defeated the Iron Sheik? - Really?

I know the card in question (a joint WWF/Stampede card, with a Vancouver All-Star Wrestling mainstay on the card), but how did they manage to arrange for a mainstay for Al Tomko's All-Star Wrestling to defeat a former WWF champion who lost the title to Hulk Hogan early the same year? My only guess is that Mosca and Sheik might have worked together when Sheik worked for Tomko.