Analysis: NJPW G1 Climax Draws Over 80,000 For Tour, $1.3 Million Gate For Final Night

The twenty-seventh annual New Japan G1 Climax closed Sunday with attendance and ticket prices up from recent years.

The final night at the Sumo Hall on August 13 this year we estimate drew a $1.3 million live gate, based on advertised ticket prices and estimates of ticket quantities. That's likely the highest company gate for an event not at the Tokyo Dome since at least 2014.

Attendance for the 19-event tour came to a total of 80,639, according to attendances reported on New Japan’s official website. That’s up 8% from 2016 and up 15% from 2015.

The tour was 19 events long in 2015 and 2016 also and ran many of the same venues.

Attendance was up from the prior year or nearly the same for every venue, except in Gifu where attendance was down 5%.

Of the 19 events, 12 this year sold out, according to the company. That's up from 8 events selling out last year.

New Japan ran at the Sumo Hall (aka Ryogoku Kokugikan) in Tokyo for the final three nights of the tour for each of 2015, 2016 and 2017. Each year the final three nights were respectively held on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's on these nights the tournament often presents its most exciting matches, capping the tour off of course with the tournament final.

The Sumo Hall is the biggest venue of the tour, with a maximum setup capacity of about 11,000.

With higher ticket prices this year, the Sumo Hall events sold more slowly, but all three events sold out, unlike the previous two years. The final night of the G1 sold out over a month in advance last year when Kenny Omega beat Hirooki Goto in the finals. This year, as Tetsuya Naito kept Omega from winning twice in a row, it sold out on the day of the event.

Ultimately more tickets were sold by New Japan at the Sumo Hall this year and at higher ticket prices.

Blue highlighted cells below indicate a sell-out. Ticket prices in 2015 and 2016 were identical. The rightmost column below shows the percentage of difference between the ticket prices this year and the ticket prices in 2015 and 2016.

Based on the quantities of tickets believed to be in each section, the estimated gate for the final night at the Sumo Hall this year was about $1.3 million (¥144,000,000). That's up from 2015 and 2016 when the venue sold out with lower ticket prices and with an estimated gate of about $850,000 (¥93,000,000).

The final night on August 13 this year is likely New Japan's highest gate for event not at the Tokyo Dome in years. Sakura Genesis on April 9 this year at Sumo Hall had 10,237 attendees and Dominion on June 11 at Osaka Castle Hall had 11,756. Those events probably had high gates, though likely fall short of the gate for the G1 final this year, as G1 final ticket prices were higher than the tickets for those events.

EDIT: The G1 final night in 2014 at the Seibu Dome in Saitama may have had a gate that comes close to or exceeds $1.3 million. The reported attendance for that event was 18,000, however that number is likely inflated. Ticket prices were lower for that final (highest ticket: ¥20,500; lowest: ¥3,500) than for this year's. It's possible the Seibu Dome show did a higher gate than this year's final, but it seems likely the show was not as profitiable as New Japan didn't continue to run the final night of the G1 at the Seibu Dome or a similar stadium-sized venue in future years.

On Friday and Saturday the Sumo Hall was setup with a configuration to hold about 7,500 fans, seating two spectators to the venue’s box seating. On the final nights the last three years, the box seating is sold four to a box instead of two, bringing capacity to around 11,000.

New Japan blocks off two corners of the venue for video screens which slightly diminishes capacity.

The final night on Sunday drew about the same attendance in 2015 (10,180), 2016 (10,204) and 2017 (10,280). The penultimate event on Saturday night has drawn similar in the last three tournaments too. The Friday night event however increased in attendance this year and last, with 5,658 in 2015, 6,598 in 2016 and 7,495 in 2017.

For events after April 29, 2015, attendances reported on New Japan’s official website indicate the number of paid attendees, according to promoter Takaaki Kidani.

Thanks to @EvanDeadlySinsW and @toshanshuinLA for their help collecting data related to ticket prices and ticket quantities.

Follow Brandon on Twitter @BrandonThurston. Email him at [email protected].

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