Last month, I wrote an article talking about how I really felt a temptation to order the Victory Road pay-per-view. Well, given what we all know now about the whole mess with Jeff Hardy, I’m glad that my ultimate decision to avoid ordering the show prevailed. And in the wake of the Victory Road main event debacle, I pretty much thought that my desire to purchase a TNA Wrestling pay-per-view was put to rest once and for all.
I was wrong.
Over the last 7 – 10 days I found myself really considering purchasing this past Sunday’s Lockdown pay-per-view. I’m not sure what the draw was for me; it could have been the non-iMPACT! Zone arena and crowd, the decent build-ups to most of the matches, the fact that each match was fought inside of a steel cage, the fact that I seem to become a bigger and bigger fan of TNA Wrestling while the majority of the internet denizens show an increasing disgust for me and my ilk… who knows?
All I know is that on Sunday evening I found myself a little annoyed that I wasn’t watching the show live either through my cable provider or TNAonDEMAND.com. That annoyance, however, did not lead me to purchase the pay-per-view, though, and I wonder what it’s going to take for me to make the leap.
As I wrote in last month’s column – there are certain items/issues that I know will prevent me from buying a TNA Wrestling pay-per-view. Without going into too much detail, these items and issues include the cost, the iMPACT! Zone, and the saturation of the wrestling pay-per-view market. But all of those issues aside – I was so close to purchasing the Lockdown pay-per-view that I find myself asking the same question again…
What is it going to take?
Maybe I want a major pay-per-view to be held in my own backyard again like Hard Justice was in 2008. Maybe I want a lower cost for the pay-per-views each month (especially if I’m going to purchase the thing on my laptop – come on!). On the other hand, maybe I don’t see enough value in the pay-per-view based product to spend the $30 or $35 that it costs to buy the show. I think my unwillingness to purchase these shows is made up of some mixture of all of these points.
I also think that I’m breaking down.
For example, here we are in April and I’m pretty sure that in 6 months I’ll be purchasing TNA Wrestling’s biggest show of the year – Bound for Glory. If Eric Bischoff is allowed to continue running the company in the manner that he’s currently running it (and I hope he’s allowed to do so), then Bound for Glory is a no-brainer for me because it will be the culmination of every storyline from the previous 12 months. It’s brilliant and it’s exactly what this old school wrestling fan wants to see when he spends his money on a pay-per-view. I don’t want to buy a show only to watch a second or third match in a feud that has a few months ahead of it. That’s not for me.
Instead, I want to see what the old WrestleMania shows used to be like in the 1980’s and early 1990’s – shows where major storylines that had built up over the last 12 months come to a head. That’s something that I can justify paying for each October with Bound for Glory!
Yet, there has to be something more. There has to be something that drew me in during both March and April and made me want to buy each month’s pay-per-view. In March, I really think that the Victory Road card was phenomenal. This month, though, I think I’ve found myself falling into the system that an old school guy like Bischoff is probably hoping that I fall into – i.e. I know that I’m going to buy a pay-per-view in October, but here we are at the exact halfway point from that show and something in me wants to buy a pay-per-view in the hopes of getting some sort of payoff.
It’s brilliant marketing and fan manipulation. More importantly, though, it’s why Bischoff is worth his weight in gold to TNA Wrestling.
Before he was part of the team, I never found myself willing to spend a portion of my hard-earned paycheck on a wrestling pay-per-view. Sure, I’d go to a house show and maybe buy some swag, but I never wanted to spend the big bucks and buy a special television show. But Bischoff has managed to pique that interest in me and like I wrote above – I know that I’m definitely buying one pay-per-view this year, even if it’s all the way out in October.
And there have to be more TNA Wrestling fans out there like me. There have to be fans who would have never thought to purchase a pay-per-view, but now find themselves seriously considering spending the money on the show. Being a TNA Wrestling mark makes me want to believe that’s true, but being a business man who has worked in real estate development and finance for longer than I care to mention makes me want to run some numbers on the possibilities. For example…
It appears that iMPACT! has averaged about 1,550,000 viewers each week over the last few weeks (it’s probably more, but I’m trying to work in round numbers). Let’s assume that 1% of the viewership feels the same way that I do, that is that they find themselves willing to buy at least one TNA Wrestling pay-per-view each year when they’ve never done that before.
That’s 1% of 1,550,000 which gives us a total of 15,500 viewers who feel the same way that I do.
And let’s assume that those 15,500 viewers are just like me and know now that they’re going to buy Bound for Glory in October. Let’s low ball the cost of that pay-per-view and say that it costs $30.
So that’s 15,500 viewers paying $30 each in October = $465,000 in new revenue.
I stress that this is new revenue because remember – these 15,500 viewers are just like me in that they never purchased a wrestling pay-per-view before. In internet speak, we’re all a bunch of n00bs. But let’s consider what happens when half of those n00bs decide to buy another pay-per-view at some point during the year to satisfy the urge that I find myself feeling.
That’s just 7,750 viewers (or 0.50% of the average iMPACT! viewership) spending $30 for another pay-per-view during the year = $232,500 in new revenue. Add that new revenue to the new revenue above and you have $697,500 in completely and totally new revenue.
Again, that’s all new revenue. Are you beginning to see how Bischoff is worth his weight in gold? Even if he can motivate just one-half of one percent of the average iMPACT! viewership to purchase two or three pay-per-views each year, he’s potentially adding millions to TNA Wrestling’s bottom line. He just needs a very, very small handful of fans to purchase pay-per-views.
And after the desire I had to buy both Victory Road and Lockdown, I might be one of that small handful of fans very, very soon.
joe1897 [at] gmail [dot] com