wrestling / Columns

The Hamilton Ave Journal 11.24.07: Volume 1 – Issue 9

November 24, 2007 | Posted by JP Prag

By JP Prag

Volume 1 – Issue 9


The Hamilton Ave Journal is the only wrestling news report focused solely on the business of wrestling. Here in the Journal we not only look at the stories that are important to the investor and business-minded person, but also delve deeper into stories that most fans of wrestling would overlook. That is because the Journal is about getting the heart of the matters that affect the companies and outlooks of the wrestling world.

And where is Hamilton Ave? That is the location of the WWE Production Studio in Stamford, CT, and thus the most powerful place in the wrestling world. Besides, The East Main Street Journal just does not have the right ring to it.

Who am I? I am JP Prag: consultant, entrepreneur, businessman, journalist, and wrestling fan.

Now, ring the bell because the market is open.

The Hamilton Ave Journal


The Journal’s front page area known as What’s News isn’t just about telling you what has happened. The stories in this section are about what will have an effect on the wrestling industry, individual federations, and the wallets of the fans.

Lead Story: WWE Brings Economic Growth to Detroit-area
In a press release dated Tuesday, the WWE claimed that WrestleMania 23 in Detroit, MI added $29.7 million in economic impact to the area. The study was conducted by Enigma Research Corporation of Toronto, Canada.

Founded in 1993, Enigma is a 15-person shop with $1.5 million in sales that produces consumer data for “sponsors, exhibitors, promoters, or suppliers” of events marketing.

Most likely, the WWE hired Enigma to do the research to show that wrestling events—and in particular WresleMania—have a strong positive effect on an area. Although the overall numbers may be suspect, there is no doubt that money from tourists and the WWE corporation itself bolstered the area. Tom Lewand, Detroit Lions/Ford Field EVP & COO and the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau Chairman of the Board, went on to say:

Hosting the WWE’s premiere event proved to be a tremendous boost for the City of Detroit and the region… With 80,000 worldwide fans in Detroit for WrestleMania 23, the event was not only a catalyst for a positive economic impact, but also a springboard for Detroit’s tourism industry.

What is not questionable is the direct tax revenue the city received. Over $4.7 million was raised for Federal, State, and local government. This reporter, having been in the city during WrestleMania 23, can attest to the numbers of fans and large amount of spending that took place.

Overall, the WWE has been looking to show the positive side of wrestling ever since the Chris Benoit murder/suicides. In the wake the CNN-documentary controversy, the WWE has been riding a wave of press in their favor and will continue to push through on their way to WrestleMania 24 in Orlando, FL. Although not in need of the funding as much as Detroit, the WWE will want to show that their landmark event will be beneficial to the area.

International Events Continue to Grow WWE’s Business
As noted in the Journal a few weeks back, the WWE continues to grow its highly profitable international business. The Journal wrote:

While North American tickets averaged $38.92 per person, international events averaged $77.75.

This large gap in average ticket prices, as well as large gaps in average attendance (international events sell out frequently and at similar sized arenas) make these tours very beneficial to the WWE’s bottom line. In a recent press release, the WWE went on to say:

WWE®’s Survivor Series® tour of Europe finished as one of the most successful in WWE history, selling out all 14 events in the UK alone between both the RAW® and SmackDown® brands and generating more than $11 million in ticket sales revenue.

Even with a recently finished successful tour, the SmackDown!/ECW brand is returning to Europe in two weeks for a tour through Ireland, Switzerland, and Germany (see the Personal Journal section below). Already, tickets have gone on sale for post-WrestleMania events in April through the UK, Austria, France, Portugal, and Switzerland for all of the brands. Linda McMahon recently commented on a conference call that the WWE would be looking to expand international touring.

While these events prove lucrative for the WWE, the toll taken on the talent can not be discounted. For the past two months, the Journal has been noting the human capital issues the WWE. Talent, especially those with family, are not as keen to travel for long times. The international tours require a long time away from home, working more dates in a row, wearing down their bodies more, and not seeing much of a bonus for doing so. While the WWE benefits greatly from these events, workers do not see a direct benefit for themselves. This will weigh heavily into their decisions whether to continue to work for the WWE when the time presents itself.

Meanwhile, TNA has added back a number of international events after cancelling two shows in Israel. In December, TNA will have two shows in Mexico, two in Quebec, Canada, and one in Ontario, Canada. This seems more logical for TNA to stay in the continental North America for transportation of materials and people, especially for their first events. Again, TNA must be careful to not add too many live events as many workers are attracted to TNA for a lighter schedule. That was the reason many originally went to WCW and became despondent when the company started adding live events. Eric Bischoff even commented in his autobiography that the additional schedule did more to destroy staff morale than any storyline or backstage treatment/incident.

HD Content Discovers Wrestling
In September 2006, the WWE began an experiment with HD content by filming a live event in Uncasville, CT. At the time, word leaked that management was very unhappy with the results as the HD content revealed too much and video tricks of the past would not work. Still, that did not stop Vince McMahon from going on a conference call and saying the WWE would switch to HD format in a year’s time.

This past weekend, the WWE was in Naples, FL shooting many HD content scenes, supposedly for new openings to their shows. Although no time-table has been set for RAW and ECW to switch over to HD, the CW Network announced that all shows (including SmackDown!) would be switched over to HD by January 2008.

Much of this movement is because the government and FCC and demanded that all broadcast television stations switch over to the highly compressed HD standard by 2009. Although this does not affect cable and digital channels, most are following suit due to the large growth in HD-compliant televisions and the expectations of consumers.

Meanwhile, Spike TV had previously announced that all shows, including TNA iMPACT would be switching to the HD format in 2008. It is expected that Spike TV will help out with the financing of getting TNA HD cameras and equipment. This changeover may delay TNA from expanding touring as they will want to test the new format closer to home.


In the Marketplace we look at the trends in television ratings. This section is less for critical analysis by the Journal but more for the reader to see what is really going on and to draw their own conclusions.

As with stocks, here in the Journal we track the progress of television ratings. If ratings are the barometer by which we judge the product, then over the course of 52 weeks we should be able to see patterns, trends, and anomalies. Please note that gaps in the chart below are due to data not being released/available.

For the week ending Thursday November 22 2007, here are the current standings of our shows:


Close (This Week’s Rating): 3.5
Open (Last Week’s Rating): 3.5
Percentage Change: UNCH
52-Week High: 4.3
52-Week Low: 2.5
All Time High: 8.1
All Time Low: 1.8

Close (This Week’s Rating): 2.7
Open (Last Week’s Rating): 2.9
Percentage Change: ▼ 6.9%
52-Week High: 3.3
52-Week Low: 2.2
All Time High: 5.8
All Time Low: 1.0

* SmackDown! ratings may include fast overnight if final ratings are not posted. Also, SmackDown! ratings are for the prior week as overnights are not available before this article goes to print.

Close (This Week’s Rating): 1.3
Open (Last Week’s Rating): 1.4
Percentage Change: ▼ 7.1%
52-Week High: 2.3
52-Week Low: 0.9
All Time High**: 2.3
All Time Low**: 0.6

** ECW’s All Time figures include ECW on TNN

Close (This Week’s Rating): 1.1
Open (Last Week’s Rating): 1.0
Percentage Change: ▲ 10.0%
52-Week High: 1.2
52-Week Low: 0.6
All Time High: 1.2
All Time Low: 0.6

*** TNA iMPACT’s are for the prior week as ratings may not be available at the time of the Journal’s posting

A relatively down week for everyone except for TNA, which again flirts with its all-time high. With two huge returns in the WWE and a new addition to TNA, it will be interesting to see if there are any changes in either direction in the coming weeks. Also, with many more regular shows coming to the end of new episodes and no end in sight for the writers’ strike, pro-wrestling is in a great position to be one of the few shows to have new episodes for a while.


We all know that wrestling is a business, but we don’t often pay attention to what sells and makes money. Money and Investing looks into the top selling items in the world of wrestling and any interesting figures that may have come out this week.

What are the top ten selling items for the WWE? From WWEShopZone.com:

1. WWE Action Trading Cards
2. WWE Black Gift Bag
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin Jakks Exclusive Action Figurehead
4. Triple H the Conqueror T-shirt
5. John Cena My Life DVD
6. WWE Superstar 2007 Ornament
7. Stone Cold Steve Austin Destroyed That T-shirt
8. Triple H Grey Skull T-shirt
9. WWE Holiday Gift Wrap
10. 2008 WWE Day Dream Calendar

The story continues of one retired wrestler, one on the shelf wrester, and one active wrestler dominating the top ten list. Also of note is the continual climb of $3 Black Gift Bag. The WWE has a red gift bag as well that is just not as popular.

TNA requires a little bit more research. Their website does not release Top Ten lists, so the Journal does a general search for a space on “featured products” and sorts by most popular. They came up in order as:

1. MMG T-shirt
2. TNA Meltdown Vol. 2 CD
3. Instant Classic: The Best of Christian Cage DVD
4. To Live and Die LAX T-shirt
5. Hard Justice 2007 DVD
6. The History of TNA: Year 1 DVD
7. xXx T-shirt
8. University of Angle T-shirt
9. AJ Styles Vol. 1 and 2 Combo DVD Pack
10. “Pacman” Jones T-shirt

A few new items enter the TNA list with their music CD making a surprisingly high entrance and the new AJ Styles double-pack giving already created DVDs a new lift. TNA has shown that once a DVD has run its course, they are good at rebranding and repackaging the same material and selling it again. Also, as seen, with the Motor City Machine Guns selling high, they gained a win over Team 3D and Chris Sabin was a featured in the main event of iMPACT. Perhaps TNA has started listening more to the numbers?


Wrestling isn’t just about watching and reading. The best way to be a wrestling fan is to experience it live. Where is wrestling coming to in the next 2 weeks? The Personal Journal answers that question.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
25 (Nov)

  • RAW Live
    Greensville, SC
  • SmackDown!/ECW Live
    Charleston, WV
  • 26

  • RAW
    Charlotte, NC
  • 27

  • SmackDown!/ECW
    Roanoke, VA
  • 28 29 30

  • ROH
    Dayton, OH
  • 1 (Dec)

  • ROH
    Chicago Ridge, IL
  • 2

  • TNA Turning Point
    Orlando, FL
  • RAW Live
    Savannah, GA
  • SmackDown!/ECW Live
    Florence, SC
  • 3

    Orlando, FL
  • RAW
    North Charleston, SC
  • 4

    Orlando, FL
  • SmackDown!/ECW
    Belfast, Ireland
  • 5

  • SmackDown!/ECW Live
    Belfast, Ireland
  • 6

  • SmackDown/ECW Live
    Frankfurt, Germany
  • 7

  • SmackDown!/ECW Live
    Zurich, Switzerland
  • 8

    Do you know a wrestling event coming up? Send one in to The Hamilton Ave Journal and we’ll be sure to add it to the list.


    The Editorials section is designed for you, the readers, to respond to the views presented in the Journal, send an important news item, or talk about another overlooked business related item in wrestling. Just beware: the Journal reserves the right to respond back.

    No critical pieces were written this week, so worth your read instead is:

  • After so much hype, was Bayani let down by the return of Y2J?
  • William Bumgarner wonders what was CNN thinking?
  • Ryan Byers continues to teach us all about Shimmer
  • Sat and Uncle Trunx need your help in finding a way to vote that isn’t stealing from me (not that I mind)

    And, of course, a week would not be complete without a good dose of my very own HIDDEN HIGHLIGHTS!!


    This concludes Issue #9 (Volume 1) of THE HAMILTON AVE JOURNAL. Join us next week as we get ready to ring the bell again.

    Till then!

  • NULL

    article topics

    JP Prag

    Comments are closed.