Cody Rhodes is a man on a mission He is determined to have Ring of Honor book a large arena and sell 10,000 tickets. On its face it seems ridiculous. From examining the Wrestling Observer and the Internet Wrestling Database for 2012-2017, Ring of Honor has broken an attendance barrier of 2,000 just three times since 2012 (and likely in its history):
8/22/2015 2,000 Brooklyn, NY at the annual Field of Honor Event. Reportedly ROH was on pace to sell far greater than this number until the WWE announced NXT Takeover in the borough, which drew just under 16,000 to the Barclays Center
4/1/2017 Lakeland, FL 3,500 WrestleMania weekend. Led by fortunate timing and a hot Hardys versus Young Bucks program, ROH drew their highest attendance ever (the number has also been listed as high as 3,600 and as low as 3,000. It may depend upon what Koff interview you read).
10/15/2017 Chicago, IL 2,500 This event sold out quickly (with only a couple of hundred tickets released at a later time). The event featured Kenny Omega in the city for the first time as a headliner and benefitted from co-branding with a hot New Japan for Global Wars. Knowing the event was at The Odeum (a venue that had been listed as holding 6,000 for an ECW pay per view many years ago), fans waited for more seats to open up. Unfortunately, the event was held in a smaller part of the venue and this was the maximum seating. This event was a missed opportunity to draw ROH its biggest crowd to date. It would have likely easily eclipsed Lakeland.
2017 has been the best year for attendance for ROH since at least 2012 (and likely in its history). Thus far, they’ve averaged 1,120 fans. They’ve had 19 shows with over 1,000 fans (if one includes the 2 Honor Rising events in Tokyo).
Cody is at most (if not all) of the shows now. He sees the venues and the interest level and he still calls for a 10,000 seat venue. Why? I believe that Cody knows to get big, you have to think big. He doesn’t want to settle for selling out 1,800 seats at the Hammerstein Ballroom. He wants to reach for a higher rung on the ladder. The way to get bigger is to talk bigger. Is 10,000 an achievable number for ROH in 2018? Probably not but just by talking about it, and tilting for windmills, it makes things bigger.
ROH has three very large venues booked for the first third of 2018 and Cody may want to concentrate his promotion on those event. Although they are scaled for much less, the Cabarrus Arena can hold just under 6,000; the Nashville Municipal Auditorium 8,000 and of course, UNO Lakefront Arena for Supercard of Honor 9,000. Are any of those 10,000 seat venues? No but getting 5,000-7,000 fans would be a huge accomplishment.
Lavie Margolin is the author of the forthcoming book, TrumpMania. The kindle edition is available for pre-order. Tweet Lavie via @Laviemarg . Full disclosure: Lavie is a shareholder of Sinclair Broadcast Group.