AEW attendances are down and they are fast approaching the levels of the dying days of WCW.
Tony Khan’s AEW holds the record for the biggest-selling wrestling show in history with All In at Wembley Stadium breaking that record in August 2023. However, since then attendances across North America have dwindled for the company’s weekly shows in what has become a worrying trend.
Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer explained the concern surrounding AEW’s current ticket sales and said the company seems to be drawing fewer fans when they return to cities where they have previously held shows:
One of the things is that like the last quarter, there were a lot of weak advances in the last quarter. But they had a lot of the shows where they got late buys, whether it was Bryan and Okada or Mistico or having the MJF and Kenny Omega match, or just good local promotion, sending guys in or lowering ticket prices, things like that. So I kind of got whatever the word is, kind of got lulled into this sense of, okay, the advances suck, but it’s not that bad. And it really wasn’t that bad the last quarter. Well, now, it’s that bad and it looks worse.
I mean, the Wednesday show. They’re under 2,000. 4,000 to me is fine for AEW, under 4,000 is not so great, under 3,000 is pretty bad. And under 2,000 is really bad, especially when you’re coming to the city once a year. They got Tulsa coming up, they’ve never been to Tulsa, and they’re under 2,000 there as well.
So I mean, there’s real [concern]. And then the last week, I mean, St. Louis on Saturday, when I saw that number. St. Louis is a historically great wrestling city, it’s not like they come there often. And to do under 3,000 on Saturday night, it’s really not good at all. And, you know, another problem that they have is that every time they go back to a market, in more cases than not, the attendance goes down.
AEW Attendances Tumble Towards WCW’s
Meltzer then explained that AEW’s current live attendances are approaching the same level as WCW during that company’s dying days in 2000:
There’s always exceptions to every rule. But in more cases than not, they go down. And it’s like, okay, when you’re at four [thousand], and you’re going down, and not so great. When you’re 2,800 and you’re going down in a major city, where are you headed? I mean you’re getting now to WCW 2000.
People hate when I use that term, but they’re getting there and that’s a scary place to be. And I mean, there’s a lot of slight things that they could do, but they haven’t. I know that there’s Kosha Irby in and this is actually his job, his job is going to be to get this stuff up. And it’s way too early to put any blame on him. He just got there.
Meltzer concluded by noting that tickets are sold to events based on the excitement of the product and that needs to be increased to get more people at AEW shows:
As far as touring and promoting and things like that, even if you’re the greatest promoter in the world, people are going to buy more or less based on the product and the excitement of the product. I mean, WCW had Zane Bresloff in 2000 and they couldn’t sell tickets, because nobody wanted to buy tickets to the product. And with AEW, it’s like the number of people who want to buy tickets to the product. They buy the pay-per-views, watch Wednesday night TV, but they’re not going in any great numbers to the shows. The people that go seem to love the shows.
Somewhat bucking the trend of poor attendances is AEW Revolution which will be held on March 3rd in the Greensboro Coliseum. The last update provided by WrestleTix noted that over 15,000 tickets have been sold for the event and it is at a near sell out.
That show will feature the final match of Sting as he brings the curtain down on his legendary career. Sting has picked his opponents for Revolution but it looks like Darby Allin has made the case for them ending Sting’s career with gold around his waist.