This morning WWE released their first quarter financial reports for this year. The major news was that WrestleMania XXVI drew very disappointingly on PPV with an estimated 885,000 buys worldwide, down 7.8% from last year despite a much more focused promotional build for the show. To put this number into perspective this would be the lowest initial estimate reported by WWE for worldwide WrestleMania buys since 2004 and since then WWE has expanded their PPVs into several more overseas markets, most notably Mexico. In terms of domestic buys, assuming that 40% of them came from overseas markets - roughly the same as last year, would mean that 531,000 North American homes purchased WrestleMania, which would put this year's Mania in the bottom two Manias for domestic PPV business of the last 13 years. In comparison UFC 111, which happened the day before Mania, featuring Shane Carwin vs. Frank Mir and Georges St-Pierre vs. Dan Hardy drew an estimated 770,000 buys in North America, comfortably kicking Vince McMahon's ass on his home turf. It would be a safe hunch that WrestleMania going against UFC 111 on the same weekend cost WWE a minimum of 100,000 buys in North America.
So did Vince McMahon own up to his shareholders and admit that he got his ass kicked by Dana White, his primary competition on PPV? Of course not, he's a typical lying promoter! As James Caldwell of the Pro Wrestling Torch reports, Vince is still trying to spin the myth that UFC doesn't affect WWE's PPV business.
Asked whether the timing of UFC PPVs right next to WWE PPVs is hurting buys, McMahon said, "Not sure whether it has or not. You're talking about two completely different audiences. The UFC audience is more of a boxing audience than an entertainment audience."
This might make a nice yarn to spin to gullible mark shareholders who don't follow the wrestling business, but we here at Cageside Seats know that Vince's actions speak much louder than his words. Why would he try to get UFC banned in key European countries, if he wasn't worried that competition from UFC in Europe would eat into his business there too?