I used to be a big pro ‘rassling fan when I was a kid but I have not followed or even paid a shred of attention to it since the days of Bruno Sammartino, Dr. Jerry Graham and Antonino Rocca. However, I read a report recently on espn.com analyzing the pro ‘rassling business and there are obviously a whole lot of people who not only like this sort of display but also spend time following it. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is a publicly traded corporation on the New York Stock Exchange; therefore, its finances are available for public scrutiny.
WWE revenue for last year was $658M which is up more than 20% from two years ago.
WWE staged 273 events in the US last year attracting 1.6 million fans who paid an average of just over $53.00 per person to attend.
WWE got $130M in TV rights fees last year and that number will grow to $235M in 2018.
40% of WWE fans are women; more women watch WWE on TV than watch Oxygen Network or Lifetime Channel.
WWE is the #1 subscribed YouTube sports channel. Twelve million subscribers watched over 1 billion YouTube segments.
John Cena is a WWE rassler. I might be able to pick him out of a lineup but I am not positive that I could. He is the most-followed athlete in America on Facebook. His page there has 42.2 million “likes”. By comparison, LeBron James has 23 million “likes”.
Notwithstanding the fact that I am not a fan or follower of pro ‘rassling, the WWE is big business and a successful business in 2016. To see some of the other data to support what a big business it really is, check out the espn.com report here.
There are a little less than 7 weeks left in the MLB regular season and the American League is the place to watch for potential excitement and fireworks. The major focus would have to be the AL East race where the Blue Jays, Orioles and Red Sox are in a virtual dead heat at the moment for the top spot in the division. It could be that the two AL wild Card teams could be the two teams in the AL East that do not win the division – although the Astros, Mariners and Tigers are also in contention for at least one of the two Wild Card slots. Oh, and even though the Yankees were “sellers” at the trading deadline and have reduced their average roster age, they are still within striking distance of the AL East lead.
The Yankees hold their fate in their own hands. They have 6 more games against the Blue Jays; they have 8 more games against the Red Sox; they have 9 more games against the Orioles.
The Yankees are a real long-shot to be able to climb over 3 opponents to win the division, but with all of those division games remaining, they are in a position to make a run if they go on a tear.
The Red Sox play the Orioles 7 more times this year. The Blue Jays play the Orioles 6 more times this year. The Blue Jays and the Red Sox play each other 6 more times this year. All three teams have shown the ability to go on a roll and run up nice win streaks; all three teams have also shown the ability to go cold for a week or so at a time. This could be fun to watch from afar and very stressful to watch for fans of these three teams. All three of these AL East teams can score runs. Consider:
Toronto Blue Jays lead MLB in home runs this year.
Baltimore Orioles are second in MLB in home runs this year.
Boston Red Sox have 2 players with 27 HRs this year and 5 others with more than 12 HRs this season.
In the NL East, the Marlins’ hopes to put together a miracle run to catch the Nationals in the NL East – or at least to secure a Wild Card slot in the NL playoffs – suffered a huge punch to the gut when Giancarlo Stanton suffered a groin injury that appears to put him on the shelf for the rest of the regular season. Stanton is a stone-cold monster in the middle of the Marlins’ line-up and replacing him there appears to be impossible.
A friend described Johnny Manziel as a toxic asset; he said that Manziel was not signable by any NFL team right now because of the PR “spit-storm” that his signing would cause in any NFL market. I agree that is the case in 2016 and I am not sure what even a year of rehab and “clean living” might do to alter that situation. However, as I thought about this chat with a friend, I realized that both Ray Rice and Greg Hardy remain unsigned as of today.
Rice has been out of the NFL for 2 seasons; the window is closing on his career.
Hardy was part of the Cowboys – with their seeming goal to be the Boys
Town of the NFL with Jerry Jones cast as Fightin’ Father Flanagan taking in and changing the lives of lost children. Hardy even wore out his welcome there.
I think the Communications Director for all 32 of the NFL teams has to go to church to light candles at least once a week praying that none of these three albatrosses gets put around the neck of the Communications Director for a year’s worth of explaining…
Finally, an Olympics observation from Brad Rock in the Deseret News:
“Brazil claimed during the Olympic opening ceremonies that it launched the first airplane flight.
“Moments later, Al Gore called a press conference to take credit for inventing the samba.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………