At WrestleMania 32, WWE set a new attendance record with a reported 101,763 fans in attendance (although that number has been disputed, with some claiming the real attendance was 93,730, which, ironically, would still beat WWE’s original attendance record set at WrestleMania III). However, what kind of sacrifices did WWE have to make to get to that number? According to statements made in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE may have given away between 18 and 24,000 tickets to the event for free, in order to ensure the stadium was full.
Of course, WrestleMania also set massive records for revenue generation, so WWE likely doesn’t care that they had to paper the event, Also, the attendance record doesn’t really distinguish between free and paid attendance, and it’s not like giving away free tickets isn’t something that has been done by all sorts of events in the past, including wrestling companies. However, that’s not a small number of tickets (at the higher end, depending which attendance figure you believe, it’s between a quarter and a third of the live audience), and it does suggest another reason why the company might have decided to pull back on the Roman Reigns mega-push. After all, not being able to sell out the largest event in wrestling history is one thing, but having that trend continue at smaller shows would be a bad one for WWE, financially.