Any way that you look at it, 2017 was a great year for live attendance for Ring of Honor. Although not all data was readily available pre-2010, I am confident in saying that 2017 was the highest number in terms of attendance and overall average in company history.
In 2017, ROH drew a total of 46,457 fans. This compares to 40,360 in 2016, 40,425 in 2015 and 24,332 in 2014.
In 2017, ROH averaged 1,106 fans. This is the first year that Ring of Honor has averaged over 1,000 fans. This compares to an average of 859 in 2016, 940 in 2015 (previously ROH’s best attendance average to date) and 785 in 2014.
In 2017, ROH went on a streak of 10 sellouts, beginning with Global Wars in Buffalo on 10/12 and continuing through Dallas, Texas on 11/18.
26 shows (62%) were sold out, near sold out or filled/standing room only.
There is no doubt that the attendance was lifted by the use of New Japan talents. War of the Worlds and Global Wars contributed to several sellouts and 1,000+ fan shows.
The largest attendance for the year was Lakeland (4/1) on WrestleMania weekend. It is listed as 3,500, although at other times it has been listed as 3,600 and 3,000 (including by Ring of Honor CEO Joe Koff).
The second largest attendance, and perhaps biggest missed opportunity of the year, was ROH’s move to the Odeum in Chicago (10/15). It drew an immediate sellout (with a few tickets released later) for 2,500 fans. The space used was not setup to accommodate the 6,000 fans who reportedly attended an ECW event in the venue many years ago.
New York was the most consistently successful city this year, as is the case when running the Hammerstein, with 3 sellouts of 1,800 fans each. When examining the numbers, note that a Hammerstein sellout had in the past been listed as “2,500” a few years ago. This may be that one section of the Hammerstein is used for production and it hadn’t been in the past or the reported number previously was inaccurate. ROH may want to consider running the venue 4-5 times in the future to see if the attendance holds up.
The weakest attendances for the year were San Antonio (2/3) with 500, Dallas (2/4) with 600, Collinsvile (6/4) with 500, Lowell (6/24) on the 2nd day at the venue with 500- even with a Young Bucks DVD giveaway, and Oklahoma City (11/19) with 600 in attendance.
There is a lot of fun you can have analyzing the data linked here. Please note that you should consider this information as more ‘broad strokes’ than exact. Much of the info is based on reported figures and not necessarily commission reports or official company figures. The breakdown of sold to comps isn’t always apparent. I utilized three sources with the following prioritization: 1. Wrestling Observer Newsletter 2. Internet Wrestling Database and 3. WrestlingData.com. I left out any shows that are outside the regular cannon such as Bachelor Parties, nights of hoopla’s and student shows. Given the nature of this work, there are bound to be typos or errors so please help me in correcting that for the future.
In 2011-2013, there were 2 shows each year for which I could not find any attendance estimates. While noting clearly, I estimated based on attendance reports for shows in the venue that had taken place before or after (hopefully both) during that time frame.
In 2010, there were many taping for HDNet in which an attendance was rarely provided and the breakdown of paid/comps was very muddy even then. Consider 2008-2010 for illustrative purposes, instead of exact, due to several estimations of potential attendances.
In 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, I didn’t have enough data to estimate total attendance and average (the Wrestling Observer has not yet archived the issues online that would have covered these time periods. It may become available for later editions of this report). I listed what I had. However, I did have enough data to estimate for 2004-2005.
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.