WWE got good news this week when the first company reports for Royal Rumble came in at about 485,000 buys and a 0.90 buy rate, more than double what Armageddon got in December. Even though it would be the second lowest buy rate for a Rumble in the 16 year history of the event on PPV, trailing only 1997, it was slightly ahead of the reported budget of 475,000 buys for the event. It would be down 5.8% from the 515,000 buys in 2003 (since buys often trickle in late, it is very conceivable it could end up near or even ahead of last year’s number), but way down from the record setting 670,000 buys in 2002.
Over the past two years, the Rumble buys have not been that much lower than those from Wrestlemania. In 2002, Rumble’s numbers were even more impressive because DirecTV didn’t run the show, yet it still set the record, and the buy rate itself was almost identical to that of Wrestlemania (which did 840,000 buys but was available in the nearly 10 million at the time DirecTV homes). Last year, Wrestlemania did 560,000 buys, so the buy rate was also very close.