During the pandemic era, AEW rose as a definitive competitor to WWE and even seemed to outperform them at several points. However, things are a bit different now, and several critics have taken note of this. Eric Bischoff is one of them, and he recently gave his two cents about how AEW’s strategy to book bigger venues may be a detriment to them in the long run.
On the latest episode of 83 Weeks, Bischoff spoke about AEW’s standard move of booking a large venue. However, he noted that they’re only able to sell tickets for less than half the capacity. He added that this can be countered by booking smaller venues and adjusting the venues based on how many tickets they’re able to sell, and he explained why this approach is better.
You look at AEW and they are going to 10,000-seat arenas, and they are blocking it all off, and they are having a hard time selling 5,000 tickets. So right off the bat, you are spending money on an arena that you are only using half of. The real negative impact that has is the energy. I would rather have 3,000 people in the right venue than 5,000 people in the wrong venue. The reason for that is that those 3,000 people in the right venue are in a venue that is built for 3 or 4,000 people. A smaller arena that is filled shoulder to shoulder creates an environment. It makes it more fun. It’s like going to a bigger, cooler party, and the energy is so much different when you get your people in a relevantly confined area. They aren’t spread out all over the place. The energy in that environment is noticeably different. It’s also different on television. You feel it. You see it.
Bischoff then wondered why AEW is going with this approach since they are struggling with it. He emphasized that by organizing shows in a smaller venue, AEW will be able to cultivate a different energy in the audience as well as the in-ring talent, which is going to have a positive effect on viewers watching from home.
For whatever reason, they are booking these big venues, and they are struggling. I saw one the other day; they are scaling these things down to 4,000 people. Why get to a 10,000-seat arena when the energy and vibe have dissipated? Go to smaller venues. The energy will be different for the talents in the ring. The energy will be different for the audience. The consumer experience will be greater, and the energy you deliver to the house will be noticeably different. Your viewers at home will actually feel better about watching your show.
In the same episode, Eric criticised how AEW is suffering from a ‘parasite’ that is Ring of Honor. Previously, Tony Khan purchased ROH and has recently delivered on his promise of starting a weekly television series.
On a previous episode of 83 Weeks, the former WCW CEO spoke about how uncomfortable he felt with storylines back in the day at WWE, which used religion. He recalled when Farooq and Bradshaw of The Acolytes became henchmen to the evil version of the Undertaker, and it had rendered him uncomfortable.
Do you think Eric Bischoff’s observation about AEW is right? Should AEW cut down the size of their events? Sound off in the comments below.
Transcription by Ringside News