Brandon Howard: Post-Wrestle Kingdom 12 NJPW Business Update

Wrestle Kingdom Attendance

New Japan drew a paid attendance of 34,995 fans to the Tokyo Dome for Wrestle Kingdom 12 on January 4. That’s a 34% increase from last year’s attendance of 26,192.

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Veteran New Japan wrestler Yuji Nagata tweeted the day before the event, on January 3, that 32,600 tickets had been sold in advance. This implies about 2,400 tickets were sold on the day of the show.

It's not clear what the average ticket price was for Wrestle Kingdom 12. Prices were advertised between 4,500 yen ($40 USD) and 50,000 yen ($442 USD). The gate had to have been New Japan's biggest in many years, probably worth multiple millions of dollars, but well below that of a WrestleMania which drew a $14.5 million gate last year.

Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that about 2,000 people traveled in from Europe or the United States to attend the event.

According to Chris Charlton's translation, after the main event, IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada said he'd fill the remaining empty seats in the Tokyo Dome. New Japan is expected to return to the Dome for Wrestle Kingdom 13 next year.

NJPWWorld Subscribers

Subscribers to New Japan's video streaming service NJPWWorld recently rose from about 70,000 to about 90,000, also according to Meltzer. It's not yet known how many subscribers are from outside Japan. Last year after Wrestle Kingdom 11, about 44,500 in Japan subscribed, along with about 15,500 outside Japan, for a total of about 60,000 subscribers.

Overall Revenue

Overall company revenue for fiscal year 2017 was on par with that of 1997, at 3.9 billion yen or $34 million, which is a like-to-like comparison as the Japanese yen has inflated little in the last ten years. New Japan published this information on its official website. The promotion's fiscal year runs from August to July.

That's probably more annual revenue than any promotion in the world besides WWE, however Vince McMahon's company earns 21 times more revenue. WWE reported $729 million in overall revenue for January to December 2016 and will likely report an even higher total for January to December 2017 when the company releases its next earnings report in February.

Total and Average Attendance

New Japan's total paid attendance for the calendar year of 2017 was 360,338. That's up 15% from 2016's total of 312,278.

The company began reporting legitimate paid attendances in May 2015, so we can make a fair comparison of May to December for each of the last three years. With a few more events in the period, in 2017 the promotion drew more attendees and a higher average attendance per event.

Final 3 Nights of G1 at the Budokan

During Wrestle Kingdom 12, New Japan announced it will run the final three nights of this year's G1 Climax at Nippon Budokan. Normally the tradition is to run those events at the Sumo Hall (Ryogoku Kokugikan). Both venues are in Tokyo but the Budokan has a larger capacity. According to the venue's website, the Budokan can hold 14,471 with floor seating. The Sumo Hall holds about 11,000 at maximum configuration. New Japan sold out the Sumo Hall for the final three nights of the tournament last year but only set it up for maximum capacity on the third night, drawing 10,280. The other two nights were setup with a smaller configuration, drawing 7,495 on Friday, August 11, 2016; and 7,591 on Saturday, August 12, 2016.

The final three nights of the G1 this year at the Budokan will be on August 10, 11 and 12.

There hasn't been pro wrestling in the Budokan since May 2013 when Kenta Kobashi's retirement show "Final Burning" sold out the building. New Japan itself hasn't run the venue since 2002. The Budokan was the site of many of All Japan Pro Wrestling's biggest events in the 1990s.

Follow Brandon on Twitter @BrandonThurston. Email him at [email protected]. He co-hosts Wrestlenomics Radio, a podcast on wrestling business.

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