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WWE touts a record-breaking Payback

Another WWE premium live event, another press release telling us about what a financial success it was.

Not that Payback breaking records for shows with that name, and for all shows WWE’s run in Pittsburgh, isn’t impressive. It’s just that we’ve seen lots of evidence for how hot the company’s product — and the wrestling business in general — is right now. Setting records for an event they’ve only run seven times, where the only other edition since 2017 happened in an empty arena during COVID, doesn’t impress us quite as much as things like selling 70,000 or 90,000 tickets for shows that don’t even have any announced matches.

Anyway, here’s the presser, presented by Tout:


STAMFORD, Conn., September 5, 2023 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that Payback, which emanated from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, became the most-watched and highest-grossing Payback in company history. The premium live event set new records for viewership, gate and merchandise.

Viewership of Payback was up 36 percent versus the previous record set in 2016. With 12,468 in attendance, it marked the largest gate ever for any Payback, up 13 percent versus the prior record set in Chicago in 2016. Payback also became the highest-grossing WWE event ever held in Pittsburgh.

In addition, Payback broke the all-time event merchandise record. In partnership with special event retail partner Fanatics, merchandise sales were up 182 percent versus the previous record set in 2017.

2023 Payback was also the most-viewed social Payback of all time with a combined 146 million social views, up 44 percent from the previous record set in 2020. The most-viewed moment across social platforms was Cody Rhodes announcing Jey Uso would be joining the Monday Night Raw roster which generated more than seven million social views across all platforms in one day.

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