Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Preliminary thoughts on WWE's Q3 2015

Analysis by Chris Harrington ( -- @mookieghana

Today is the last day of the third quarter for FY 2015 for WWE.

The company won't be releasing results until late October (Google Finance guesses October 28 and just Yahoo Finance puts the date between 10/28 and 11/2).

So, what do we already know?

The WWE did post updated KPIs with data through 8/31/15 on Monday morning.
  • No update on the WWE Network subscriber numbers.
    WWE steadfastly only wants to report that metric each quarter. (Would love to see some investors pressure the company on this topic since they did used to report PPV buys each quarter, but I completely understand WWE's reluctance since they've placed such a heavy weight on # of paid subs as the sole determinant of the financial health of the company.)
  • Reports of the death of Pay-per-view have been greatly exaggerated.
    Q3'15 PPV buys are actually likely to surpass Q3'14 PPV buys. Last quarter, WWE earned $3.5M in PPV from 263,600 buys. After just two months and not including September's Night of Champions event, WWE has already had 279,000 buys. (Oddly though, the buys for both Battleground and SummerSlam in the chart on page 4 seem lower in 2015 than 2014 yet total buys for Q3'15 is higher. I do suspect that strong main events such as SummerSlam with Brock Lesnar versus The Undertaker and NOC with Sting wrestling Seth Rollins will help on the total PPV revenue for Q3. Overall, PPV will probably generate almost $20M in 2015 for the company.)

  • We're getting closer to the "new normal" for Home Entertainment.

    Last year was a step change for WWE's Home Entertainment division. 2013 shipped nearly four million units and generated $24M in revenue with $9M in OIBDA. In 2014, shipments fell by a third to 2.7 million. Revenue didn't tumble nearly as much as there was a big Q1'14 payment ("increased sell through rates at retail and the recognition of a $2.5 million minimum guarantee from our home video distribution and a $2.2 million adjustment for higher current sell-through rates than anticipated for our fourth quarter 2013 releases"). WWE switched to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment for distribution in 2015 which is a less acrimonious deal than how things ended with Cinedigm. Over the last five quarters, WWE has shipped a little more than half a million units each quarter. It remains to be seen exactly how the rest of FY 2015 will play out with new WB deal, but WWE will probably see between $16M and $19M in Home Entertainment revenue this year. It's a small piece of the empire, but still a profitable business and a key ingredient to maintaining a fruitful relationship with kid-friendly WB properties such as Scooby Doo and the Flintstones.
  • WWE Digital Media footprint continues to grow.

    While the division hasn't been generating blockbuster revenue (about $4M per quarter - keep in mind that older figures will include the now defunct Magazine Publishing business), the Social Media strategy remains WWE's favorite talking point. One important takeaway from Q2's conference call was that WWE will participate in the ad-supported video test on Facebook. For the company who believes they're heeding the "clarion call" to own the online space, this is an important development. In the wake of WWE's declining television rating, is there evidence that their increased social media presence can be monetized in a meaningful way? Will it translate to more WWE Network subscriptions, more WWE merchandise sales or more WWE superstar endorsement deals?
  • North American Live Attendance is slightly up.

    For July and August 2015, WWE averaged 5,500 fans per North American live event compared to only 5,100 fans per NA live event in Q3'2014. Overall, it looks like live attendance is flat to slightly up (when you remove WrestleMania distortion from the mix). Still, the enormously successful weekend at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn led one writer to proclaim it's currently a "high point of mainstream acceptance and popularity". What's more interesting is how WWE has managed to squeeze more revenue per person out in the live event segment.

It's a good sign that WWE is finding new ways to generate more revenue and more profit for the company. Before the Attitude era, we saw a swell in domestic attendance preceding the growth in PPV buys/event. Now, the OTT-model of the WWE Network is trying to hook subscribers for the entire year (or at least majority of the year), but it remains unclear how quickly WWE can ween their fans away from the come & go model. Certainly, while Churn remains high (284k in Q1'15, 508k in Q2'15) there's still significant progress left to make on this topic. While the drop in WWE ratings hasn't correlated with a drop in WWE Network subscriptions (that we know of), I do believe that a growth in average NA live event attendance would correlate with growth in WWE Network subscriptions.

What's going to happen with the WWE Network subscriber number?

One of the most surprising comments in the Q2'15 results, was the projection that "for the third quarter 2015, the Company expects ending paid network subscribers of approximately 1.2 million," It was highly unusual (though welcomed by investors) for WWE to give guidance on the number of paid WWE Network subscribers as of 9/30 a full 60 days prior to the end of the quarter. One can assume that knowing in advance that plans involving PPV matches with Brock Lesnar, the Undertaker and Sting were on the horizon, WWE felt more confident in making this projection. 

The next question is do we anticipate the actual WWE Network number will be higher or lower than the 1.2M guidance? 

In July, the company did roll out the service in two new markets (Italy, Malaysia). While this reduces the number of outstanding WWE Network-less countries to a select few (Germany, Japan, India, China, Thailand) it's unlikely (in my opinion) to have a material impact on generating new subscribers for Q3'15. Germany remains the largest opportunity (though there is continued speculation that a large portion of the hardcore German fanbase is already accessing the service). China is the greatest opportunity, but the toughest nut to crack. I have very low confidence that WWE will be making progress on that front in the next 18 months. Japan is probably the greatest false-positive as it's questionable whether the WWE Network would really be highly consumed in that culture. There are certainly some learnings for WWE from NJ World's experience, but historically PPV was not a major factor in the Japanese media market. The revenue that WWE is receiving from new India TV deals (rumored through 2019) makes it unlikely that WWE will want to rush WWE Network roll-out if it may endanger the relationship they have with the major media players. Furthermore, the unique characteristics of the Indian marketplace have already pushed other online content providers (such as YouTube) to pursue alternative distribution methods (Mobile download VOD, for instance) in that country. Lastly, WWE is actually suing their broadcast partner in Thailand (CTH) over non-payment of television rights. While this may actually encourage WWE to launch the OTT service in Thailand sooner (since angering their international partner is a lesser concern), undoubtedly the company is most concerned with outstanding $4M in TV rights fees they are already owed. In short, it doesn't seem like international expansions should be having a large effect on the WWE in Q3. If they announce plans for Germany (or India or China), that would be a meaningful target for Q4, but I haven't heard any rumbling of that at this time.

How much does the declining WWE Raw and Smackdown ratings hurt the company's ability to grow WWE Network subscriptions? I certainly believe that ratings are a barometer of interest in the WWE's premium content. If you consider the function of WWE Network to be centered around delivering premium WWE content (i.e. what were the monthly pay-per-views), then declining ratings are not a good sign. Furthermore, I think of Raw and Smackdown as the gateways to funneling new fans into investing (both emotionally and monetarily) in the WWE product. If you have less people coming in, there's less conversions happening downstream. When Raw is at risk of slipping below three million viewers, that means even less households are watching (recall - WWE Network subscriptions are driven by unique broadband households). It's still not a good sign.

Yet, when we look at WWE Network subscriber levels during second half of last year, what happened? There was a general malaise from July 2014 through December 2014 where the overall paid WWE Network inched up (helped by the international roll-out in August 2015) but lacked any explosive growth. It appears the general model is acquire lots of subscribers from January to April, retain as much as you can, slowly convert free trials into new users for the remainder of the year. It makes sense that WWE predicted they were barely grow from end of Q2'15 to end of Q3'15. Last year taught us that. Does a more-severe-than-expected ratings decline mean that WWE Network subscribership is eroding faster than expected? We all wish we knew. My gut still says no. It just suggests (to me) that it's folly to expect better-than-expected growth of ending Q3 around 1.2M paid WWE Network subscribers.

Who is left to convert? Excluding the already discussed untapped international markets, who is left for WWE to convert from WWE fan to paid WWE Network subscriber? WWE's own demographics (from their most recent investor presentation) notes that more than a third of their audience is over the age of fifty and 3/5th of the audience is over the age of 35. It seems rational to believe that the earlier adopters for over-the-top technology were younger consumers, though the marketplace for OTT-acceptance among older folks has been growing by leaps and bounds each year.

WWE has been investing a lot of time into reaching out to fans via consumer surveys. Have they cracked the formula of what's keeping some people from shelling out $9.99 each month? Do they want more library/archival footage? Is it all about the new content? Are they frustrated that Hulu provides same-week access to Raw while the WWE Network is weeks and weeks behind? (Tangential point - why does WWE receive so little revenue from Hulu in their Digital Media segment when these rights are clearly worth so much? Is it just part of the bundled TV Rights fees they're getting from NBCU which is a partial owner of Hulu?)

Lastly, I've harped on this point before but I still wonder - who is in charge of the WWE Network? I know that George Barrios is the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Strategy Officer. I know that Michelle Wilson is the Chief Revenue Officer and the Chief Marketing Officer. I know that Stephanie McMahon is the Chief Brand Officer and Paul Levesque is EVP of Talent, Live Events and Creative. I know that Vince McMahon is the Chairman and CEO of WWE (along with still playing an enormous role in directing the WWE creative process). What I don't know is who is in charge of shaping the vision, direction, strategy, content of the WWE Network. I especially wonder if the person or people responsible for the WWE Network have extensive online streaming service backgrounds.

They've run through a gamut of people from Perkins Miller (EVP Digital Media, left in in April 2014 for the NFL), Matthew Singerman (EVP Programming for WWE Network, left in May 2014), Lou Schwartz (WWE Chief Digital Officer, left in August 2015) and Lisa Fox Lee (EVP Content, promoted in January 2015 and allegedly fired in July 2015). Considering that WWE considers, "Rate of WWE Network subscriber adoption is a critical determinant of the Company’s projected future financial performance", it always feels strange that there's a lack of strong visibility into who is leading this project (specific credentials) and the high-turnover that's been associated with top management positions.

Meanwhile, TV rights are going to grow. Along with the increased domestic & international deals for Raw and Smackdown, WWE will be receiving revenue for Total Divas and USA's Tough Enough. It will be a significant quarter the company in the TV Rights fees column. Last year, TV rights were about $177M. WWE will be well north of $210M in FY2015.

WWE's legal battles continue. The company has been quite successful at consolidating all of the concussion lawsuits into a single Connecticut case (from Texas, Oregon, California, New Jersey) and even putting Konstantine Kyros on the defensive (that he's not supposed to venue shop and can't use unnamed John Does). There hasn't been much movement in the Shareholder lawsuit though WWE had quite a victory by blowing up the confidential witness #1 Brian Maddox testimony. It will be interesting to hear if there is progress in either the patent troll cases or the unpaid international television rights bills. I still believe that WWE won't move away from the stated 3M to 4M goal of annual steady WWE Network subscribership until they resolve the TV Rights/Shareholder lawsuit.

As for the stock price, I can't say. It goes up. It goes down. People seem to really struggle to understand the company so they tend to over-react to information. I guess it's mistimed enthusiasm combined with blind optimism.

WWE is doing some things right - building NXT as a viable touring model for instance.

Lastly, I also think the Q2 announcement that WWE would be introducing "a three-month subscription card at retail, enabling a 'no credit card required' payment option" is a great decision. Understanding how historically, WWE fans have skewed lower-income, it's crucial to provide an avenue for people who might not have clear access to credit cards or checking accounts to become paying WWE Network subscribers.

Your thoughts? Comments? Concerns? Quandaries? Email Chris or tweet me at @mookieghana.

Monday, September 28, 2015

How much does it cost WWE to run a house show?

How much does it cost to run a House Show in North America?

WWE doesn't clearly break out their profit margins into house shows, TV tapings, and PPVs.
However, we can try to extrapolate based on their quarterly financial filings:

WWE Quarterly Live Event Revenue
2013Q1: $21.0 = $20.0 NA + $1.0 INTL / $4.4 OIBDA -- 77 NA EVENTS + 3 INTL EVENTS
2013Q2: $40.1 = $30.1 NA + $10.0 INTL / $17.2 OIBDA -- 65 NA EVENTS + 22 INTL EVENTS
2013Q3: $25.0 = $17.5 NA + $7.5 INTL / $3.9 OIBDA -- 62 NA EVENTS + 14 INTL EVENTS
2013Q4: $25.4 = $13.8 NA + $11.6 INTL / $5.3 OIBDA -- 52 NA EVENTS + 26 INTL EVENTS

2014Q1: $21.7 = $21.7 NA + no INTL / $3.8 OIBDA -- 80 NA EVENTS + no INTL EVENTS
2014Q2: $38.3 = $27.5 NA + $10.8 INTL / $15.5 OIBDA -- 54 NA EVENTS + 23 INTL EVENTS
2014Q3: $21.6 = $17.3 NA + $4.3 INTL / $3.9 OIBDA -- 73 NA EVENTS + 6 INTL EVENTS
2014Q4: $26.9 = $15.3 NA + $11.6 INTL / $4.6 OIBDA -- 57 NA EVENTS + 25 INTL EVENTS

2015Q1: $37.5 = $36.5 NA + $1 INTL / $17.6 OIBDA -- 73 NA EVENTS + 3 INTL EVENTS
2015Q2: $26.4 = $16.9 NA + $9.5 INTL / $6.7 OIBDA -- 65 NA EVENTS + 21 INTL EVENTS

What we want to concentrate on is the "cost" (we'll consider that the difference between Live Event Revenue and Live Event OIBDA) as a function of the total number of events held that quarter.

2013Q1: $16.6 "cost" = 2 PPVs + 25 TV tapings + 50 NA house shows + 3 INTL house shows
2013Q2: $22.9 "cost" = 2 PPVs + 1 WM + 26 TV tapings + 36 NA house shows + 22 INTL house shows
2013Q3: $21.1 "cost" = 3 PPVs + 27 TV tapings + 32 NA house shows + 14 INTL house shows
2013Q4: $20.1 "cost" = 4 PPVs + 27 TV tapings + 21 NA house shows + 26 INTL house shows

2014Q1: $17.9 "cost" = 2 PPVs + 25 TV tapings + 53 NA house shows + 0 INTL house shows
2014Q2: $22.8 "cost" = 3 PPVs + 1 WM + 26 TV tapings + 24 NA house shows + 23 INTL house shows
2014Q3: $17.7 "cost" = 3 PPVs + 27 TV tapings + 43 NA house shows + 6 INTL house shows
2014Q4: $22.3 "cost" = 3 PPVs + 26 TV tapings + 28 NA house shows + 25 INTL house shows

2015Q1: $19.9 "cost" = 2 PPVs + 1 WM + 26 TV tapings + 44 NA house shows + 3 INTL house shows
2015Q2: $19.7 "cost" = 3 PPVs + 26 TV tapings + 36 NA house shows + 21 INTL house shows

When you run a regression with no constant, it would suggest that the cost per show-type were around:

Multi-variable regression
PPV: $920,500
TV Taping: $420,000
NA House Show: $95,500
INTL House Show: $200,875

(I should note that while the adjusted R-squared for this is high - 0.83, the p-values on all the variables are terrible and that if you exclude the WM quarters, the regression falls to pieces. However, I can at least believe these numbers so I'm going to barrel on using them.)
You can quickly tell which quarter has WrestleMania just by looking at the implied NA Live Events / NA Event revenue each quarter:

Revenue per Live North American Event
2013Q1: $259,740
2013Q2: $463,077 (WrestleMania)
2013Q3: $282,258
2013Q4: $265,385
2013TTL: $317,969

2014Q1: $271,250
2014Q2: $509,259 (WrestleMania)
2014Q3: $236,986
2014Q4: $268,421
2014TTL: $309,848

2015Q1: $500,000 (WrestleMania)
2015Q2: $260,000

It's clear that WrestleMania is pretty distrotive (WrestleMania qtr: $490,779 / Non-WrestleMania qtr: $269,236) so let's focus on the non-WM quarters.

If it costs about $95,500 on average to run a house show in North America, based on the average ticket price over that quarter, how many people would you need to draw? Assuming about $44/ticket (our sample ranged from $39.40 in Q1 2013 to $46.45 in Q2 2015), that's about 2,170 people. We should probably assume lower ticket prices (closer to $35-$40), which would be 2,400 to 2,700 per show. Let's say 2,500ish people.

Break-even for an INTL house show was about 2,600 due to the high international ticket prices (median international ticket was $74). However, the NA house show break-even is probably a little more than because the average ticket price is a combination of house show attendance, TV tapings and PPVs.

The break-even for PPV and TV tapings is more complicated. WWE makes $210M+ in TV Rights for their TV tapings. WWE used to earn $80M+ in PPV rights. Also, ticket prices for those events are higher.

What's the average building size which WWE runs North American shows in?
Looking at the Capacities listed in the document with the WWE Schedule (March 2015-March 2016) which WWE filed back in March...

The average capacity of a building that WWE ran between March 2015 and Sept 2015 for a house show in North America was 9,681. (Overall, including international events, the A-crew with Cena was capacity of about 10,248/event and B-crew was capacity of about 9,001/event.)

The average capacity of a building that WWE ran between March 2015 and Sept 2015 for a TV taping (including UK tapings) was 11,943. For the 7 non-WM PPVs (excluding special events like Beast in the East or Hell in a Cell), was about 12,870. Again, these capacities were from WWE's own legal filing.

Overall, average North American attendance was about 5,770 in non-WrestleMania quarters. Again, that's a combination of events that are more packed (like TV tapings and PPVs) and less packed (average live events).

A few years ago, I looked at House Show attendance by brand (2008-2013) and found that Raw ranged from 5,600 to 7,110 and SmackDown ranged from 4,800 to 6,600. So, WWE is probably somewhere in the 5,000-5,500 range for North American House show attendance these days which is probably at twice as high as what you need to break event.

In reality, the costs of a house show are partially driven by the attendance itself since in theory you're paying talent a percentage of the gate based on their spot on the card and the building you use is also dictated by the attendance demands.

Analysis by Chris Harrington (

Friday, September 25, 2015

WCW Payroll 1996-2000

See also the May 2000 WCW Contract Talent Database (list of each contract)All these documents were exhibits in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta) CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:00-cv-00368-CC (Onoo v . World Championship Wrestling, Inc ., Turner Sports).

1995-2000 Actual Pay / Merchandise / Licensing Revenue

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Kevin Owens' House Show Record

I tried to take a look at Kevin Owens house show record compared to previous house shows.
I've found that Cena and non-Cena house shows have a significant difference so it's helpful to note whether or not he was on the show when you're looking at the attendance.
I've excluded TV tapings and house shows from December (where there's often a big uptick in attendance during that post-Christmas tour).

House Shows against Cena
06/27/15: Boston -- 7,000 Cena: U.S. title: John Cena b Kevin Owens-DQ
01/08/2010: 5,000
10/31/2010: 4,000
08/31/2013: 6,500
09/14/2014: 4,500 Cena
+ Improvement against average <+2500>

07/10/15: Philadelphia -- 8,000 Cena: U.S. title: John Cena b Kevin Owens-DQ
02/14/2010: 11,500 Cena
02/06/2011: 7,300 Cena
10/13/2013: 6,000
06/22/2014: 7,000 Cena
+ Better than last two Cena shows <+700 to +1000>

07/11/15: Pittsburgh -- 6,000 Cena: Street fight for U.S. title: John Cena b Kevin Owens
07/23/2011: 4,300
# Hard to judge. Last house show in the WON in Pittsburgh didn't have Cena.

07/17/15: Newark, NJ -- 7,000 Cena: U.S. title: John Cena b Kevin Owens-DQ
08/29/2010: 7,200 Cena
03/20/2011: 9,600 Cena
- Lower than last two house shows, both which had Cena on them.

07/18/15: Danville, IL -- 3,500 Cena: Street fight for U.S. title: John Cena b Kevin Owens
# No comparison point.

07/24/15: Bakersfield, CA -- 5,000 Cena: Street fight for U.S. title: John Cena b Kevin Owens
02/08/2009: 4,000
03/14/2010: 6,000 Cena
02/13/2011: 5,300 Cena
02/12/2012: 5,000
02/09/2014: 4,500
08/24/2014: 4,900
- Lower than the last two Cena house shows. <-300 -1000="" to="">

07/25/15: Los Angeles Staples Center -- 10,000 Cena: Street fight for U.S. title: John Cena b Kevin Owens
02/13/2009: 12,000 Cena
02/24/2012: 9,000 Cena
01/18/2013: 11,000 Cena
- Lower than two of the last Cena shows.

08/21/15: Bridgeport, CT -- 6,000 Cena: John Cena & Cesaro b Kevin Owens & Seth Rollins
08/22/2008: 6,500 Cena
03/15/2013: 7,700 Cena
03/21/2014: 6,500 Cena
10/05/2014: 3,000 Cena
02/28/2015: 5,600 Cena
+ Better than the last two Cena shows. Lower than the previous three.

08/28/15: Fort Myers, FL -- 6,000 Cena: Dean Ambrose b Kevin Owens (Cena was on the show: WWE & U.S. title: John Cena b Seth Rollins-DQ)
8/01/2010: 4,000 Cena
+ Higher than last.

08/29/15: Orlando -- 6,500 Cena: Dean Ambrose b Kevin Owens (WWE title: John Cena b Seth Rollins-DQ)
02/01/2014: 6,500 Cena
# Same as before.

08/30/15: Daytona Beach, FL -- 4,000: Cena Dean Ambrose b Kevin Owens (WWE title: John Cena b Seth Rollins-DQ)
07/31/2010: 3,500 Cena
06/22/2013: 3,500
+ Higher than last Cena show. Higher than last house show.

09/04/15: Hampton, VA -- 3,000: Cena Street fight: John Cena b Kevin Owens
06/13/2010: 5,200
09/06/2014: 3,000
- Same as a non-Cena House Show.

09/06/15: Fairfax, VA -- 1,800: Cena Street fight: John Cena b Kevin Owens
03/23/2013: 5,000 Cena
01/05/2014: 4,000
- Way low.

House Shows not Against Cena
07/12/15: Macon, GA -- 2,000: Kevin Owens b Neville
05/07/2011: 4,400 Cena
03/04/2012: 5,000
07/27/2013: 3,000
10/11/2014: 4,100
- Very low.

09/11/15: Edmonton -- 4,000: Chris Jericho b Kevin Owens
07/26/2014: 5,500
01/31/2015: 6,000
- Lower than non-Cena House shows.

09/12/15: Calgary -- 3,000: Chris Jericho b Kevin Owens
07/27/2014: 3,700
02/01/2015: 2,500
# in the Middle of other non-Cena house shows.

09/13/15: Jonesboro, AR -- 1,200: Cesaro b Kevin Owens
08/30/2008: 3,400
10/12/2012: 5,500
03/09/2014: 5,000 Cena
- Very low.

07/26/15: Lawton, OK -- 2,500: Cesaro b Kevin Owens-COR
# No record.

07/31/15: San Diego -- 3,000: Chris Jericho b Kevin Owens, Neville b Bo Dallas
07/03/2009: 8,000
08/07/2010: 5,500 Cena
08/24/2013: 4,000
02/08/2014: 4,000
08/23/2014: 5,000
03/22/2015: 4,900 Cena
- Very low.

08/01/15: Ontario, CA -- 5,000: Cage match:Chris Jericho b Kevin Owens
02/25/2012: 9,000
01/19/2013: 7,000 Cena
08/25/2013: 4,800
03/22/2015: 5,700
- Lower than last non-Cena house show.

08/02/15: Fresno, CA -- 3,400: Cage match:Chris Jericho b Kevin Owens
03/13/2010: 9,000 Cena
08/06/2011: 4,800 Cena
08/23/2013: 6,500
02/09/2014: 6,000 Cena
08/24/2014: 7,200 Cena
- Lower than previous House shows.

08/15/15: Detroit -- 5,500: Chris Jericho b Kevin Owens
06/06/2014: 6,500 Cena
# Hard to judge.

08/16/15: Bemidji, MN -- 2,500: Three-way for WWE title:Seth Rollins won over Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens
# Hard to judge.

It's a very mixed bag.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Wrestlenomics of Day Distribution among WWE Wrestlers (2010-2015)

Which wrestlers usually work which days during the week?

Time-period: From January 2010 through August 2015
Scope: WWE shows (not NXT)
Completeness? Lots of caveats. This doesn't include battle royal participation. This doesn't include being a valet or second or doing just appearances or promos on a TV show. Someone like Nattie or Xavier Woods will have an incomplete picture.

You'll see that a very small percentage of wrestlers work shows on a Wednesdays (3% of total shows) or Thursdays (5% of total shows). About the only time that happens is usually doing the international tours, a rare live Thursday-night SmackDown or special like Tribute to the Troops, or it's a major holiday tour like the post-Christmas stretch when WWE does some monster houses usually in the Northeast. Also, depending on whether you were injured during the international tour will affect your numbers.

This compares the "average" distribution for day-of-the-week for the top 100 wrestlers in the sample to the actual distribution. The number presented is an index (100=same as "expected").

For instance, a guy like Dolph Ziggler:

189 Sunday shows = 20.1% (versus average of 20.5%); 20.1 / 20.5 = 98 index
198 Monday shows = 21.0% (versus average of 18.0%); 21.0 /18.0 = 117 index
183 Tuesday shows = 19.4% (versus average of 20.1%); 19.4 / 20.1 = 97 index
33 Wednesday shows = 3.5% (versus average of 3.3%); 3.5 / 3.3 = 107 index
47 Thursday shows = 5.0% (versus average of 4.6%); 5.0 / 4.6 = 107 index
109 Friday shows = 11.6% (versus average of 12.5%); 11.6 / 12.5 = 93 index
183 Saturday shows = 19.4% (versus average of 21.0%); 19.4 / 21.0 = 92 index
Unsurprisingly, analysis just suggests that certain guys are far less likely to work Tuesdays.
In addition, those same wrestlers are far more likely to be working the Friday shows.

Lowest Index for Tuesday Shows (top 50)
1. John Cena (32 Tuesday index / 142 Friday index)
2. CM Punk (44 Tuesday index / 121 Friday index)
3. Miz (59 Tuesday index / 122 Friday index) - Maryse had a similar split. So did Morrison.
4. Bray Wyatt (71 Tuesday index / 115 Friday index)
5. Nikki Bella (76 Tuesday index / 112 Friday index) - Cena connection?
6. Randy Orton (78 Tuesday index / 85 Friday index) - Seniority helps?
7. Ron Killings (79 Tuesday index / 116 Friday index)
8. Brie Bella (81 Tuesday index / 112 Friday index)
9. Ted DiBiase Jr (83 Tuesday index / 123 Friday index)
10. Santino Marella (85 Tuesday index / 133 Friday index)

What's also interesting is who is most likely to working those Tuesday shows? Prime Time Players / 3MB / Usos.

Highest Index for Tuesday Shows (top fifty)
1. Darren Young (166 Tuesday index / 89 Friday index)
2. Titus O'Neil (147 Tuesday index / 91 Friday index)
3. Justin Gabriel (139 Tuesday index / 77 Friday index)
4. Fandango (137 Tuesday index / 85 Friday index)
5. Jey Uso (137 Tuesday index / 83 Friday index)
6. Jimmy Uso (131 Tuesday index / 87 Friday index)
7. Drew McIntyre (129 Tuesday index / 69 Friday index)
8. Heath Slater (129 Tuesday index / 67 Friday index)
9. Tyson Kidd (127 Tuesday index / 94 Friday index)
10. Jinder Mahal (123 Tuesday index / 73 Friday index)

Jericho has an interesting distribution - 127 for Sunday / 124 for Monday / 73 for Tuesday / 43 for Wednesday / 75 for Thursday / 86 for Friday / 102 for Saturday. Clearly, the impact of the "selective house shows" schedule.

Guy with the lowest deviation from the "average"? Jack Swagger. Next three are Kofi, Big E and Daniel Bryan.

People with the highest standard deviation among the top 100 wrestlers (by number of dates worked) were guys at the very bottom of the totem poll: JTG, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks, Mason Ryan, Percy Watson, Trent Barreta. Many of them have very high Tuesday night numbers (200+ index). Outlier was Mason Ryan whose numbers (I believe) were driven by an international tour he was on.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame 2008-2014 Voting Wrestlenomics

I've been going through the Wrestling Observer Newsletter archives and looking at the WON HOF performance over the last seven years:

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To keep people's results grouped together, I've included everyone in the most recent category in which they were categorized. That means, people who began in Modern and moved in Historical would appear to Historical. Likewise, the catch-all category ("AUSTRALIA/PACIFIC ISLANDS/CARIBBEAN/AFRICA") was only introduced in recent years though some of these candidates have been on the ballots for much, much longer. Keep in mind that the overall number of voters in each category has shifted each year. In addition, the percentage of votes required for being inducted is a function of number of voters for the group of which each performer is part of. Induction is 60% or higher. Wrestlers with less than 10% are dropped from the ballot.

WON Source (subscription required)
2008: 9/8/2008 issue
2009: 9/28/2009 issue
2010: 9/27/2010 issue
2011: 10/24/2011 issue
2012: 11/12/2012 issue
2013: 11/6/2013 issue
2014: 11/24/2014 issue

Some notes for 2015 ballot:

Added to the ballot in 2015:
  • CIMA - first year
  • Bryan Danielson - first year
  • Cowboy Bob Ellis - was dropped from the ballot in 2010 after receiving less than 10% of the vote
  • Bob Geigel
  • Samoa Joe - first year
  • Rocky Johnson - was dropped from the ballot in 2009 after receiving less than 10% of the vote
  • Shinsuke Nakamura - first year
  • Randy Orton - first year
  • Eddie Quinn - first year
  • A.J. Styles - was dropped from the ballot in 2013 after receiving less than 10% of the vote
Will be dropped after next year if not inducted or 50%:
  • Cien Caras - 18 votes in 2010 (24%), 37 votes in 2011 (31%), 32 votes in 2012 (42%), 41 votes in 2013 (45%), 53 votes in 2014 (54%)
  • Carlos Colon - 39% of votes in 2007, 116 votes in 2008 (47%), 80 votes in 2009 (40%), 62 votes in 2010 (34%), 61 votes in 2011 (55%), 61 votes in 2012 (59%), 85 votes in 2013 (59%), 76 votes in 2014 (56%)
  • Villano III - 54% of votes in 2007, 50 votes in 2008 (40%), 23 votes in 2009 (31%), 23 votes in 2010 (31%), 55 votes in 2011 (47%), 38 votes in 2012 (49%), 38 votes in 2013 (41%), 32 votes in 2014 (33%)
  • Volk Han - 28% of votes in 2007, 38 votes in 2008 (45%), 38 votes in 2009 (39%), 25 votes in 2010 (22%), 55 votes in 2011 (47%), 41 votes in 2012 (42%), 44 votes in 2013 (42%), 52 votes in 2014 (51%)
Looking at the trends (which obviously can be quite misleading), it would seem that we'd see strong results for:
  • Gene & Ole Anderson - grown from less than 25% in 2008/2009 to mid-50% in 2011-2013 and finished at 49% last year
  • Cien Caras - grown from 24% to 54% which higher percentage every year. This is also a "make or break" year for Caras.
  • Karloff Lagarde - grown from 19% in 2008 to 52% in 2013. Last year was at 48%.
  • Brock Lesnar - 24% in 2012 immediately grew to 47% in 2013. Last year nearly made it in at 56% and continues to be a major player in WWE.
  • Carlos Colon - Been consistently above 40% with a single exception in 2010. Bounced back from that. Another candidate who is in a "make or break" situation.
On the flip side, candidates whose support has been eroding in recent years:
  • Dick Hutton - started at 28% in 2011 but has been below 20% ever since. Last year was 13%.
  • June Byers - started at 25% in 2012 but has been dropping each year. Last year was 14%.
  • Kinji Shibuya - started at 50% in 2010 (following his death in May) but support fell to 27% the following year and has been at 14-15% in recent years.
  • Pepper Gomez - his iron stomach has held up stronger than his votes; dropped from 26% to 24% to 16% down to 10% last year.
  • Von Brauners/Weingeroff - first year at 22% in 2010 but slipped into the 12-19% in following years and last year was down to 10%.
  • Hector Garza - fell off the ballot in 2008 and returned to the ballot in 2013 after his death. Initial support was at 32% but that cut in half (similar trend to Shibuya) to 15% last year.
  • Brute Bernard & Skull Murphy - only 12% support last year and with likelyhood at Colon voters will flood the ballot, seems less likely the team will rebound.
  • Domenic DeNucci - after a brisk start at 47% in 2012 and respectable follow-up at 37% in 2013, stuck in the "catch-all" category, DeNucci dropped to 21% last year. Still living so perhaps his numbers will rebound after his passing and there is a larger reconciliation of his entire career.
  • Johnny Barend - also in the moutful "AUSTRALIA/PACIFIC ISLANDS/CARIBBEAN/AFRICA" category, Barend began at 25% in 2012 but has dropped to the dangerous drop-off point of 10% in last year's balloting.
  • Mario Milano - yet another candidate teetering on the edge, with 28% in 2012, his stock fell in recent years ending at only 11% in 2014.
Personally, I believe that Sting's stock is likely to go up (was at 33% - could see bump into mid-40s due to his prominent role in WWE at two PPVs), voters will be FAR less likely to support Jimmy Snuka (who was already waning at 19% last year) and I still can't believe that Junkyard Dog only had 16% support last year (seems far too low).

Wrestlers who died in 2014 might see their votes decrease after their initial bump - that would include Ultimate Warrior (20%) and George Scott (19%). I'll be curious how Perro Aguayo Jr. does - he dropped off the ballot in 2012 after initially coming in at 25% in 2010 and dropping to 15% in 2011. I wouldn't be surprised if re-debuted at a strong 35%-40% range.

-Chris Harrington