WWE’s plans for an international brand extension will be likely revised following the recent European tour, according to the Wrestling Observer. While the company has done very good overseas business in recent years, neither the Italian or German markets performed very well this time around. In fact, according to the 30th April edition of the Observer, out of the 15 dates on the tour only 2 of them sold out, in Birmingham and Cardiff. The tour averaged 4,885 paid attendance and $374,000 per show, far below the European visits of recent years that drew 8,000 paid for $600,000. Internal predictions of grossing over $12.5 million have been proven false and they will now likely do around $7.5 million.
The tenative expansion into overseas brands was planned by Shane McMahon and Michael Selick, the WWE CEO. However, with the recent tour built around Italy failing to deliver, and only the UK maintaining strong business in Europe, many are second-guessing the venture. Plans for a Latin-American group were already in doubt, since WWE would have to run shows at low ticket prices to be successful on account of the Mexican economy. Under their current prices WWE could only run in certain cities a few times a year without getting over-exposed, says Meltzer. Meanwhile, the other plan, for a brand covering Japan and Australia, seems to have no greater chance of proceeding. Recent Japanese tours drew poorly outside of Tokyo, which became their focus, and WWE officials admitted this past week they were staying out the country for the rest of 2007. Pro-wrestling popularity in Japan is at its lowest ebb for 40 years and even though Australia remains a strong market, there are a limited number of cities that could be run there.
Credit: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, April 30, 2007 (click here for subscription info)