I have been taking a look at Ring of Honor touring and attendance figures since the start of the Sinclair Acquisition (don’t worry, a comprehensive quantitative analysis will come within the next few weeks) and I’ve been wondering one thing: Why not try different markets to determine which are viable?
How would ROH know that Toronto and Chicago are the 2nd and 3rd best markets unless ROH had tried touring there? This is not meant to criticize as I know the staff is very small and trying something new bring about a whole new set of logistical challenges but I think it is time to expand outside of a mind-set of sub 700 fan crowds as part of a one or two show weekend in Collinsville, IL or San Antonio once or twice a year. We do also have to take into consideration that the top stars, even under contract, have other date opportunities to balance with partners such as New Japan and CMLL.
Let’s look at the markets where there is viable tv exposure, a history of wrestling support and try a loop in 1,000 seat auditoriums to determine what markets would be worth returning to. A loop being a 3-4 show run in the same week. I believe that ROH covers travel expenses for the wrestlers so it would be more cost effective to run 3-4 shows at a time instead of fly everyone in for 1 show and fly them right back or even doing so for 2 shows.
Here are some of the town loops I would explore that air on ROH stations- according to the listings on ROH’s website (not necessarily in this order of towns):
Upstate New York. ROH has run in Lockport, NY. Potential cities to include or replace in the loop: Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse.
Tennessee. ROH has run in Nashville, TN. Potential cities to include in the loop: Chattanooga, Jackson, Knoxville.
North Carolina/ South Carolina: Concord, NC (Charlotte Market). Potential cities to include in the loop: Asheville, NC, Greensboro, NC, Raleigh, NC, Greenville, SC.
Even if a town has been run before, the company has to examine how it was promoted. A tour called “Winter Warriors” is unlikely to inspire many. Perhaps one promoted based upon a feud would draw better? Or matches announced well in advance. The style of announcing what ‘stars’ will be present just seems very indie. It is also hard to keep up with the scattershot nature of match announcements on the website. I believe that fans would get more excited if the top 3 or 4 matches were announced well in advance (even if they are likely to change).
Again, this isn’t meant to criticize the current staff but just to take a look at another way of doing things as the Tribune acquisition looms (hopefully).
Lavie Margolin has been a professional wrestling fan since 1988 and has attended ROH shows regularly since 2004. Lavie is currently completing his latest book, Trumpmania (examining Donald Trump’s 30 year involvement in the world of professional wrestling). If you’d like to be informed when the book is launched in 2018, sign up here. Tweet me @Laviemarg