FanPost

Statistical Analysis of WWE Pay-Per-View Buyrates, 1989-2013

With the traditional pay-per-view (PPV) model having died (or at least entered its death throes) as of Wrestlemania XXX, I thought it might be a good time to perform a statistical postmortem on that era, to see what insights we can glean from the numbers and the trends they illustrate.

We often hear PPV buyrate numbers being thrown around, individually and without context, which makes it hard to put them into any sort of proper perspective. I've attempted to solve this problem by collating them in the following manner. I've used 1989 as a start date, as that was the first year the traditional "Big Four" PPVs (Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series) were all on the calendar. If you're an inveterate numbers junkie as I am, I hope this makes for some interesting reading. If not, feel free to go look at pictures of half-naked half-clothed Divas.

Legend (PPV Names):

RR [Royal Rumble]; WM [Wrestlemania]; SS [SummerSlam]; SUS [Survivor Series]; KOTR [King Of The Ring]; NWO [No Way Out]; UNF [Unforgiven]; FL [Fully Loaded]; OTE [Over The Edge]; NM [No Mercy]; BL [Backlash]; ARM [Armageddon]; JD [Judgment Day]; VNG [Vengeance]; GAB [Great American Bash]; TT [Taboo Tuesday]; NYR [New Year's Revolution]; ECW [ECW One Night Stand]; CS [Cyber Sunday]; EXT [Extreme Rulz]; NOC [Night Of Champions}; BP [Breaking Point]; HIAC {Hell In A Cell]; BR [Bragging Rights]; TLC [Tables, Ladders & Chairs]; OTL [Over The Limit]; PAY [Payback]; EC [Elimination Chamber]; MITB [Money In The Bank]; CP [Capital Punishment].

Listing Format, by year:

  • PPV buys, by event
  • Total buys for Big 4 (year-to-year change)
  • Total buys for Non Big 4 (year-to-year-change)
  • Total buys for all events (year-to-year change)
  • Average PPV audience for all events

1989 - RR 165,000; WM 767,000; SS 625,000; SUS 385,000

Big 4: 1,942,000

Non Big 4: 0

Total: 1,942,000

Avg: 485,000


1990 - RR 260,000; WM 560,000; SS 507,000; SUS 400,000

Big 4: 1,727,000 (-215,000)

Non Big 4: 0

Total: 1,727,000 (-215,000)

Avg: 431,750


1991 - RR 440,000; WM 400,000; SS 405,000; SUS 300,000

Big 4: 1,545,000 (-182,000)

Non Big 4: 0

Total: 1,545,000 (-182,000)

Avg: 386,250


1992 - RR 260,000; WM 390,000; SS 280,000; SUS 250,000

Big 4: 1,180,000 (-365,000)

Non Big 4: 0

Total: 1,180,000 (-365,000)

Avg: 295,000


1993 - RR 300,000; WM 430,000; SS 250,000; SUS 180,000; KOTR 245,000

Big 4: 1,160,000 (-20,000)

Non Big 4 (1): 245,000 (+245,000)

Total (5): 1,405,000 (+225,000)

Avg: 281,000


1994
- RR 200,000; WM 420,000; SS 300,000; SUS 254,000; KOTR 185,000

Big 4: 1,174,000 (+14,000)

Non Big 4 (1): 185,000 (-60,000)

Total (5): 1,359,000 (-46,000)

Avg: 271,800


1995
- RR 225,000; WM 340,000; SS 205,000; SUS 128,000; KOTR 150,000

Big 4: 898,000 (-276,000)

Non Big 4 (1): 150,000 (-35,000)

Total (5): 1,048,000 (-311,000)

Avg: 209,600


1996 - RR 260,000; WM 290,000; SS 157,000; SUS 199,000; KOTR 197,000

Big 4: 906,000 (+8,000)

Non Big 4 (1): 197,000 (+47,000)

Total (5): 1,103,000 (+55,000)

Avg: 220,600


1997 - RR 244,000; WM 237,000; SS 235,000; SUS 250,000; KOTR 177,000

Big 4: 966,000 (+60,000)

Non Big 4 (1): 177,000 (-20,000)

Total (5): 1,143,000 (+40,000)

Avg: 228,600


1998 - RR 351,000; WM 730,000; SS 700,000; SUS 478,000; KOTR 310,000; NWO 189,000; UNF 309,000; JD 327,000; FL 329,000; OTE 211,000; NM 415,000

Big 4: 2,259,000 (+1,293,000)

Non Big 4 (7): 2,092,000 (+1,915,000)

Total (11): 4,351,000 (+3,208,000)

Avg: 395,545


1999 - RR 650,000; WM 800,000; SS 600,000; SUS 448,000; KOTR 430,000; BL 398,000; UNF 330,000; FL 360,000; OTE 416,000; NM 327,000; ARM 371,000

Big 4: 2,498,000 (+239,000)

Non Big 4 (7): 2,632,000 (+530,000)

Total (11): 5,130,000 (+779,000)

Avg: 466,363


2000 - RR 480,000; WM 675,000; SS 420,000; SUS 420,000; KOTR 605,000; NM 550,000; ARM 465,000; NWO 480,000; BL 675,000; UNF 605,000; JD 420,000; FL 420,000

Big 4: 1,995,000 (-503,000)

Non Big 4 (8): 4,220,000 (+1,588,000)

Total (12): 6,215,000 (+1,085,000)

Avg: 517,916


2001 - RR 625,000; WM 1,040,000; SS 565,000; SUS 450,000; KOTR 445,000; NWO 590,000; BL 375,000; UNF 350,000; JD 405,000; NM 325,000; VNG 315,000

Big 4: 2,680,000 (+685,000)

Non Big 4 (7): 2,805,000 (-1,415,000)

Total (11): 5,485,000 (-730,000)

Avg: 498,636


2002 - RR 670,000; WM 840,000; SS 540,000; SUS 340,000; KOTR 320,000; NWO 575,000; BL 400,000; UNF 300,000; JD 373,000; NM 300,000; ARM 335,000; VNG 375,000

Big 4: 2,390,000 (-290,000)

Non Big 4 (8): 2,978,000 (+173,000)

Total (12): 5,368,000 (-117,000)

Avg: 447,333


2003 - RR 585,000; WM 560,000; SS 465,000; SUS 450,000; NWO 450,000; BL 345,000; UNF 360,000; JD 315,000; NM 275,000; ARM 240,000; VNG 365,000

Big 4: 2,060,000 (-330,000)

Non Big 4 (7): 2,350,000 (-628,000)

Total (11): 4,410,000 (-958,000)

Avg: 400,909


2004 - RR 500,000; WM 885,000; SS 415,000; SUS 325,000; NWO 265,000; BL 320,000; UNF 239,000; JD 235,000; NM 183,000; ARM 230,000; VNG 240,000; GAB 238,000; TT 174,000

Big 4: 2,125,000 (+65,000)

Non Big 4 (9): 2,124,000 (-226,000)

Total (13): 4,249,000 (-161,000)

Avg: 326,846


2005 - RR 575,000; WM 980,000; SS 650,000; SUS 400,000; NWO 240,000; BL 320,000; UNF 250,000; JD 260,000; NM 230,000; ARM 320,000; VNG 420,000; GAB 280,000; NYR 260,000; TT 250,000; ECW 340,000

Big 4: 2,650,000 (+525,000)

Non Big 4 (11): 3,170,000 (+1,046,000)

Total (15): 5,820,000 (+1,571,000)

Avg: 388,000


2006 - RR 550,000; WM 930,000; SS 541,000; SUS 383,000; NWO 220,000; BL 220,000; UNF 307,000; JD 252,000; NM 197,000; ARM 239,000; VNG 337,000; GAB 232,000; NYR 300,000; CS 228,000; ECW 304,000

Big 4: 2,404,000 (-246,000)

Non Big 4 (11): 2,836,000 (-334,000)

Total (15): 5,240,000 (-580,000)

Avg: 349,333


2007 - RR 491,000; WM 1,188,000; SS 537,000; SUS 325,000; NWO 218,000; BL 194,000; UNF 210,000; JD 242,000; NM 270,000; ARM 237,000; VNG 247,000; GAB 230,000; NYR 220,000; CS 195,000; ECW 186,000

Big 4: 2,541,000 (+137,000)

Non Big 4 (11): 2,449,000 (-387,000)

Total (15): 4,990,000 (-250,000)

Avg: 332,666


2008 - RR 533,000; WM 1,024,000; SS 477,000; SUS 319,000; NWO 329,000; BL 200,000; UNF 211,000; JD 252,000; NM 261,000; ARM 193,000; GAB 273,000; CS 153,000; ECW 194,000; NOC 259,000

Big 4: 2,353,000 (-188,000)

Non Big 4 (10): 2,325,000 (-124,000)

Total (14): 4,678,000 (-312,000)

Avg: 334,142


2009 - RR 450,000; WM 960,000; SS 369,000; SUS 225,000; NWO 272,000; BL 182,000; JD 228,000; GAB 178,000; EXT 213,000; NOC 267,000; BP 169,000; HIAC 300,000; BR 200,000; TLC 228,000

Big 4: 2,004,000 (-349,000)

Non Big 4 (10): 2,237,000 (-88,000)

Total (14): 4,241,000 (-437,000)

Avg: 302,928


2010 - RR 462,000; WM 885,000; SS 350,000; SUS 244,000; EXT 182,000; NOC 165,000; HIAC 210,000; BR 137,000; TLC 195,000; OTL 197,000; EC 272,000; MITB 162,000

Big 4: 1,941,000 (-63,000)

Non Big 4 (8): 1,520,000 (-717,000)

Total (12): 3,461,000 (-780,000)

Avg: 288,416


2011 - RR 446,000; WM 1,124,000; SS 296,000; SUS 281,000; EXT 209,000; NOC 161,000; HIAC 180,000; TLC 179,000; OTL 142,000; EC 200,000; MITB 195,000; CAP 170,000

Big 4: 2,147,000 (+206,000)

Non Big 4 (8): 1,436,000 (-84,000)

Total (12): 3,583,000 (+122,000)

Avg: 289,583


2012 - RR 443,000; WM 1,253,000; SS 358,000; SUS 208,000; NWO 194,000; EXT 263,000; NOC 189,000; HIAC 199,000; TLC 175,000; OTL 167,000; EC 178,000; MITB 188,000

Big 4: 2,262,000 (+115,000)

Non Big 4 (8): 1,553,000 (+117,000)

Total (12): 3,815,000 (+232,000)

Avg: 317,916


2013 - RR 579,000; WM 1,048,000; SS 289,000; SUS 179,000; EXT 228,000; NOC 175,000; HIAC 200,000; PAY 196,000; EC 213,000; MITB 199,000

Big 4: 2,095,000 (-167,000)

Non Big 4 (6): 1,211,000 (-342,000)

Total (10): 3,306,000 (-509,000)

Avg: 330,600

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