PWG Attendance Trends: A Dork Examines

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PWG Attendance Trends: A Dork Examines

Postby onlxn » Sun Jul 09, 2006 8:54 pm

This was originally a response in the Guitarmageddon thread, but I dorked out so much about such tangential stuff that I figured it'd be better off in its own thread. Let's talk about PWG attendance.

(Note: I'm obviously using PWG's official numbers for reference. Feds of course tend to inflate their numbers, but based on anecdotal evidence, if PWG does, it barely does, and probably consistently so. I think it's reasonable to take their figures at face value.)

PsychoDriver wrote:
While PWG shows did draw 300 people with AJ on the cards around summer of last year, they also featured guys like Sabin, Daniels, Joe, and other bigger names.

Well, Joe wasn't around for AJ's title run, but yeah, Sabin and Daniels were there. I think it's safe to say, both given the increase in numbers and the feels of those crowds, that some TNA fans started checking out PWG for the first time. AJ probably wasn't the *only* reason for that, but he was definitely the most over of the TNA contingent, and there did seem to be some (incredibly annoying) people who were there only to see him.

Quote:
While AJ was popular, there is more evidence that proves AJ isn't the closest PWG has come to having a draw. A better argument can be made for Super Dragon, as a lot of the main events and bigger matches he's in have drawn some of PWG"s biggest crowds.

The logical assumption is that Dragon is PWG's biggest draw, but if you walk it through, it's pretty hard to tell what effect he has. He was on every single show through May, and in a high-profile position on most of them, so he's been a part of some big crowds and some tiny ones; impossible to know what to credit him for. If I had to guess, I'd say that SD was probably the key draw for PWG early on, and has become less centrally important as the fed has grown stronger and deeper. But I have no proof that that's the case.

(The two non-SD June shows did dip in attendance, but SD was hardly the only guy to disappear after May; Danielson, Claudio, Aries and others all disappeared, as PWG switched gears to more low-wattage lineups. If anything, the June numbers suggest that no single worker makes much of a difference, as 250 isn't all that much of a drop. And I'm guessing next week's Anniversary Show gets back to 300 even without SD and some other big names.)

Not only that, but it seems to me that no single PWG *match* has ever drawn a crowd on its own. The first PWG Danielson/Joe match drew 160, which was only decent for the era, and the first ever SD/Joe match drew a really disappointing crowd of 150, a month after a crowd of 300. Granted, that was changed to SD/Joe fairly last-minute after Danielson had to cancel, and there wasn't much of an undercard behind it; still, even that match, a So-Cal dream match if there ever was one, didn't draw on its own. Offhand, it doesn't strike me that any PWG match has ever really single-handedly drawn, as generally big matches happen on shows with other big matches.

So if individual workers don't seem to draw, and individual matches don't seem to draw, what draws? Well, as I see it, there have only been only a few real trends in PWG attendance...

1) Per-show attendance has steadily increased, despite an increasing number of shows per year.

Average 2003 attendance: 158 (7 shows)
Average 2004 attendance: 174 (15 shows)
Average 2005 attendance: 319 (19 shows)
Average 2006 attendance: 317 (13 shows to date)

Average '06 attendance, though right around the same level of '05 attendance, has been far more consistent, and I'm guessing BOLA should push it comfortably ahead. Anyway, this is a really impressive trend -- PWG has gone from drawing 150 once a month to 300 twice a month. Good for our boys.

2) Bigger, more star-studded cards (ASWs, BOLA, Anniversary Shows, etc.) draw somewhat bigger crowds.

3) However, that trend seems to be decreasing over time -- possibly because PWG is more consistently putting on high-caliber cards, but more likely because PWG has earned a very loyal, reliable fanbase.

4) There may occasionally have been some *slight* bumps in attendance due to TNA workers, as the '05 summer shows focusing on AJ & Daniels drew surprisingly well given the undercards. This point is somewhat debatable, as the product in general was clearly growing at the time; however, the lower October crowds suggest that the TNA guys may have been contributing to those numbers.

These are my impressions, but I'm curious to hear what other people think. What/who do you think really draws for PWG? And what draws *you*?[/quote]
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Postby JustJay » Sun Jul 09, 2006 10:05 pm

What's interesting, is that on the whole, the "ROH" wrestlers who have come into PWG generally have a negligible affect on attendance over the early years in PWG:

2003:
Adequately Prepared to Rock, w/Briscoes, Daniels and AJ: 175
Inch Longer Than Average, w/Danielson, Cabana, Joe and Punk (unadvertised): 155
Pimpin' in High Places, w/Joe, Cabana, Punk, and Whitmer: 137

2004:
Tango and Cash, Nights 1 and 2: 150
Taste the Radness, w/Homicide, Danielson, and Joe: 135

...and so on. While the addition of these names definitely helped give PWG word of mouth in the early years and drove DVD sales, they had zero affect on live crowd draws.

2004 trended downward a bit at first, probably because of the move from the Westside JCC to the Elks Lodge, which is in a slightly more remote location and farther away from PWG's core fanbase. Although weirdly, 210 did show up for Kee_ the _ee, possibly because of the Guerrilla Warfare match.

The crowd numbers held steady in the 140-180 zone or so until Reason for the Season, for several probable reasons: 1st show in the JCC, the most centrally-located of all PWG venues, the 2nd being it's promotion as "something special" with several Internet dream matches (Punk/Super Dragon, AJ/Romero, Daniels/AmDrag vs. Daniels/Reyes), and 3rd (and most importantly I think) the CAGE MATCH, a proven indy draw as a gimmick match (AWS had their highest ever crowd thanks to a WAR GAMES cage recently).

Crowds dipped down for a while, but then started to hold steady around the 200-220 mark...until All Star Weekend. ASW was a great idea, due to Wrestlemania being held in the same area, and PWG promoted it as a BIG DEAL with several brand new flyins from TNA (which was just starting to gain serious brand recognition among more casual, but devoted, wrestling fans.) I don't think it's a coincidence that with the rise of TNA, TNA-involved wrestlers appearing in PWG helped the crowds get in.

In any case, ASW brought over more fulltime PWG fans- and I do agree with onlxn that AJ and Daniels WERE the main reason for the steady 300 number, as shows WITHOUT them dropped back to around 200.

Astonishing X-Mas was a big crowd draw, I'd say because of the Guerrilla Warfare match and more bigtime Internet dream matches (and unlike 2003/2004, I think the fans were more educated as to who the ROH guys were.) With AJ/Daniels/Joe back on shows, crowds again rose to 350 or so. Now that they're not booked anymore, crowds are now back around 250 or so. The ROH guys now have a slightly bigger affect now as opposed to 2003/2004 due to crowd education, but they still don't have the appeal of the X-Division headliners. An indication of this is All Star Weekend 3, the first without those guys, being the lowest-attended ASW doubleshot (and ASW3 is the only PWG attendance number I feel is inflated, as having been there, I estimated it was barely 300 for night 1 and maybe 275 or so for night 2)

I think it mainly boils down to this:
"BIG EVENTS" (BOLA, ASW) - 400+
AJ/Daniels/Joe -350+
"ROH" involvement - 300
core roster- 250/275
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Postby onlxn » Sun Jul 09, 2006 10:18 pm

SuplexMonthlyJay wrote:2004 trended downward a bit at first, probably because of the move from the Westside JCC to the Elks Lodge, which is in a slightly more remote location and farther away from PWG's core fanbase. Although weirdly, 210 did show up for Kee_ the _ee, possibly because of the Guerrilla Warfare match.

I seem to remember there being some consensus reason at the time for this bigger crowd. Was this the show after PWG put its first ad in the OC Weekly? I think it may have been... I seem to remember the big number being attributed largely to that on SCU.

Astonishing X-Mas was a big crowd draw, I'd say because of the Guerrilla Warfare match and more bigtime Internet dream matches (and unlike 2003/2004, I think the fans were more educated as to who the ROH guys were.)

I'd agree -- some really strong matches on the card, with Gen Next/2SBG, Davey/Joe and Kanyon's (now infamous) title challenge. But if I had to pick one match in PWG history that might've drawn some extra fans on its own, I might go with the Guerrilla Warfare match here. The conclusion to a long-running, red-hot issue, and very well hyped by PWG, with a music video and everything. It was a strong card in general, but I could see attributing the big number to that match.

An indication of this is All Star Weekend 3, the first without those guys, being the lowest-attended ASW doubleshot (and ASW3 is the only PWG attendance number I feel is inflated, as having been there, I estimated it was barely 300 for night 1 and maybe 275 or so for night 2)

I think people realized that those cards just didn't really have the luster of the previous ASWs: not quite as well-built as ASW2, not quite as star-studded as ASW1 (M-Dogg and Yang ain't no Danielson and Joe). I'd agree that those numbers seem worked, as those crowds were really small. Maybe a case of PWG trying to protect the ASW name with some decent numbers.
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Postby JustJay » Sun Jul 09, 2006 10:40 pm

I seem to remember there being some consensus reason at the time for this bigger crowd. Was this the show after PWG put its first ad in the OC Weekly? I think it may have been... I seem to remember the big number being attributed largely to that on SCU.


If that was it, then that's maybe an idea PWG should use more often, as from talking to promoters I've heard newspaper ads are a great way to spread word about shows. I know ROH used to have a "puff piece" in the local "we'll write and print anything" newspaper before every Boston show, and even had a few guys to guest appearances on local radio programs, and that helped attendance quite a bit (until ROH stopped putting any effort into their Boston events).

I also was just reminded by someone that fresh-out-of-WWE Spanky was on Kee_ the _ee, and he might have been partially responsible for the random attendance spike too.
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Re: PWG Attendance Trends: A Dork Examines

Postby Evilguest » Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:47 am

onlxn wrote:What/who do you think really draws for PWG? And what draws *you*?
[/quote]

that was a lot to go through for me to pick out two small question to respond to but hey.

What draws me to PWG? Just wrestling, I love live, local wrestling. The wrestlers will actually talk to you and you usually have something more in common with the crowd vs. a big WWE show.

I don't know what draws for PWG but I can say I didn't go for a long time even though I wanted to do due work conflicts and I thought it was farther away then it was. That and I didn't know the area. I either go alone or with my niece and nephew and I wasn't sure how about parking, how safe the area was, ect.

What finally got me there was PWG finally had a friday show and I hadn't been to an event so long I didn't how far I had to drive. I threw caution to the wind and I was pissed at myself for not having done so earlier. Then pissed at PWG for not having more Friday shows. Then my work hours changed and for the past ummm, 6 months I haven't missed a show and I wont regardless of who or who isn't on the card cause I love wrestling.
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Postby Evilguest » Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:50 am

I want an edit feature so I can fix missing words and stuff! *shakes fist*

yeah I should just be carefull about typing but........
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Postby onlxn » Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:53 pm

Yeah, it seems like the safety of the neighborhood is a concern for a lot of possible fans. I think that's sort of overblown -- my girlfriend just lived a couple blocks away for awhile and said she never heard about anything serious. But I guess I can understand people being tentative...

One more trend that I noticed about PWG crowds: the crowd is almost always bigger on the first night of a double-shot than on the second, and sometimes surprisingly so. Night Two of BOLA was obviously as star-studded and significant as the first, and yet it drew 100 fewer people. Night Two of ASW3 was clearly the stronger card, both on paper and in reality, and it didn't match Night One.

Suggests two things to me. The first, obviously, is that Sunday shows are less appealing to fans than Saturday shows. But I think there may be a second variable, which is that two straight shows in the same venue is just too much for a lot of the local fanbase -- some Night One attendees just don't feel like coming out again. It'll be interesting to see how the loaded BOLA tripleheader does, given this phenomenon.
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Postby Evilguest » Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:30 pm

onlxn wrote:Yeah, it seems like the safety of the neighborhood is a concern for a lot of possible fans. I think that's sort of overblown -- my girlfriend just lived a couple blocks away for awhile and said she never heard about anything serious. But I guess I can understand people being tentative...

One more trend that I noticed about PWG crowds: the crowd is almost always bigger on the first night of a double-shot than on the second, and sometimes surprisingly so. Night Two of BOLA was obviously as star-studded and significant as the first, and yet it drew 100 fewer people. Night Two of ASW3 was clearly the stronger card, both on paper and in reality, and it didn't match Night One.

Suggests two things to me. The first, obviously, is that Sunday shows are less appealing to fans than Saturday shows. But I think there may be a second variable, which is that two straight shows in the same venue is just too much for a lot of the local fanbase -- some Night One attendees just don't feel like coming out again. It'll be interesting to see how the loaded BOLA tripleheader does, given this phenomenon.


OK 1st as female going alone and leaving at what midnight? I don't care how safe the place is I will be a little uneasy walking to my car alone.

2nd, it could be a money thing about double shots.
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Postby evilpaz » Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:47 pm

...or people could just be burnt out.
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Postby Evilguest » Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:33 am

evilpaz wrote:...or people could just be burnt out.


seriously that never would have occurred to me.
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Postby Ocire » Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:04 pm

Are worry with BOLA is the 2 hour drive back and forth to each show as well as the money. As a solution, we've decided to miss August's show and save up extra money to get a hotel room for a few nights up in LA so the gas isn't such a problem. Damn me for living in San Diego!
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Postby Evilguest » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:27 pm

Ocire wrote:Are worry with BOLA is the 2 hour drive back and forth to each show as well as the money. As a solution, we've decided to miss August's show and save up extra money to get a hotel room for a few nights up in LA so the gas isn't such a problem. Damn me for living in San Diego!



I thought the August show was cancelled? I could be wrong.
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Postby Dangerous Robot » Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:14 pm

I always sleep in my car when there's a double shot. Egg McMuffins are just waiting across the street when I wake up!
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Postby JayJay » Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:42 am

My first show was this year's "Teen Outreach Summit", and I was drawn to the show by the chance to see TNA wrestlers (namely AJ and Joe) without having to go to Florida. However, Joe and AJ both cancelled - leaving the wrestling to hook me in.
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Postby The Masked Akeem » Sat Jul 15, 2006 8:25 am

This thread is in some desperate need of pie charts and graphs.
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Postby Ocire » Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:37 pm

Evilguest wrote:I thought the August show was cancelled? I could be wrong.


Hmm, it seems as though it was. Well surprisingly, that's good news for me. :)
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