The following is an excerpt from an interview-article with Jeff Jarrett from Kentucky.com
House shows can be a major revenue stream â€” 22.9 percent of WWE’s 2009 revenue came from live events, that rises to 27.1 percent when you add in merchandise sold at the shows â€” but they also have high costs. Wrestlers are brought in for the shows, and production teams bring the ring and set-up.
“Going to a building the size of Rupp Arena doesn’t make financial sense for us at this point,” Jarrett said.
And with TNA still growing and maturing as a touring company, “You can’t load up a card with up to 20 superstars,” Jarrett said.
“You’ve got to be smart and strategic about it and build your base and make sure the shows aren’t money-losers,” he said. “All of our shows are financial winners.”
He declined to give the percentage of the company’s revenue that comes from house shows but said merchandise sales at recent live events is up more than 130 percent year-over-year and attendance is up 27 percent.
James Caldwell, assistant editor of wrestling industry publication Pro Wrestling Torch and PWTorch.com, said TNA is smart in how it chooses locations.
“It’s been successful because they’ve been able to reach fans that WWE doesn’t go to,” he said. “WWE typically goes to the larger cities and larger venues. TNA kind of fills in the smaller towns.”
TNA, he said, might choose a 600-person arena and pack it by bringing in just a couple of major stars, he said. That way, the costs stay low, “but they can make up for it with the interaction.”
Jarrett said TNA shows are famous for crowd interaction and autograph sessions with the wrestlers for some fans afterward, as well as customized merchandise unique to the show.
The relaxed schedule is also an attraction for many wrestlers who shun the hundreds of dates a year required by WWE.
“Even if a wrestler did a full-time TNA schedule with all the pay-per-views, TV shows and live events, it still wouldn’t come close to WWE’s schedule,” Caldwell said.
But some of that might be changing soon.
Jarrett said TNA is considering whether to bring more top stars along to house shows.
“The issue you’re talking about of the (Kevin) Nashes of the world not making it, we are graduating or progressing so that won’t be the case by the end of the year,” Jarrett said. “What you see on TV will match the live events.”
Check out the full article online at Kentucky.com.
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?