WrestleManias 25-28 didn't break any arena attendance records or outdraw the Super Bowl - Photo courtesy of Ed Schipul on Flickr via WikiMedia Commons.
On Triple H's recent statement that WrestleMania now outdraws the Super Bowl, Poltifact.com rated it "Mostly Correct" based on the attendance figures published on WWE's corporate website. Here at CagesideSeats.com we rate it "Mostly False" from the real numbers reported in the wrestling media.
For those that don't know, PolitiFact.com is an American website that rates the truthfulness of statements made by the country's politicians. Today, they strayed from their area of expertise to rule on the following recent claim WWE's Executive Vice President for Talent Relations and Live Events, Triple H, made about WrestleMania attendance in an interview on Nov. 8th to the New York Post:
"We’ve outdrawn the Super Bowl for a little while now in the arenas and stadiums that we’ve followed them in for the Super Bowl. We’ve gone in after [the NFL] and surpassed their ticket sales."
As is so often the case, the reporter responsible for this article fell for WWE's and Hunter's WrestleMania lies hook, line and sinker, being completely ignorant about how they play the game and too lazy to learn how.
Indeed, Caryn Shinske of Poltifact New Jersey wrongly concluded that:
"In terms of attendance, Levesque is largely correct: WrestleMania sold more tickets than the Super Bowl in five of the six stadiums where WrestleMania was held after a Super Bowl. It's worth noting, however, that since WrestleMania's staging is similar to a concert's, field seating may be added to compensate for lost seating behind the WrestleMania stage.
Levesque’s claim rates Mostly True."
You might be wondering how she came to such an erroneous finding. By taking at face value the WrestleMania attendance figures WWE publishes on their corporate website, which are always grossly inflated so they can announce record breaking crowds to the gullible media:
"Here’s a breakdown by arena:
STADIUM SUPER BOWL YEAR WRESTLEMANIA YEAR Pontiac Silverdome 81,270 1982 93,173 1987 Ford Field 68,206 2006 80,103 2007 Reliant Stadium 71,525 2004 72,744 2009 U. Phoenix Stadium 71,101 2008 72,219 2010 Georgia Dome 72,625 2000 71,617 2011 Sun Life Stadium 74,059 2010 78,363 2012
Sources: World Wrestling Entertainment, NFL’s Super Bowl XLVI 2011 Postseason Media Guide"
Here's a list of the real figures for those same WrestleMania events from the online archives of Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
WrestleMania III - 78,000;
WrestleMania 23 - 74,687;
WrestleMania 25 - 61,611, after discounting the leftover tickets in the final week;
WrestleMania 26 - 61,093, paid attendance was never released, but believed to be in the 55,000 range with papering being necessary at the end to get a full house;
WrestleMania 27 - 61,617;
WrestleMania 28 - WWE claimed a sell out, which if true given how the stadium was set up would mean at most 66,400 fans attended, the real number was likely slightly lower - the paid figure once again wasn't released, but from the other information given in WWE's financial reports, it was estimated to be between 62,400-63,700.
Thus, instead of WrestleMania beating the Super Bowl on attendance 5-1, the real score is perfectly reversed in the NFL's favour (provided they don't inflate their numbers too, but that would be much harder to do given the seating capacity of these football stadiums is common knowledge).
Partly that's due to failing to sell out WrestleMania in recent years, but also because the seats added to the field are usually significantly outnumbered by those taken away by the elaborate, flashy staging for the purposes of WWE television.
So Levesque's claim was actually "Mostly False" and the PolitiFact story was "Totally Flawed", as rated by CagesideSeats.com.