Casual fans in pro wrestling is a subject often debated, especially regarding AEW. A lot of people think that AEW needs to cater more to these fans, and not be so focused on the hardcores. While casual fans are somewhat important, the most important type of fans are the paying ones.
Paying fans will speak with their money, and they’ll do this by purchasing merchandise, or PPVs. Having a fanbase that will always spend their money, will always be better than ones we don’t know will.
TNA always struggled with creating paying fans. Even during their peak with Spike, we saw TNA was not able to convert a lot of their viewers into paying ones. Meanwhile, AEW doesn’t have that problem… They are the opposite. AEW has been able to create a great base of paying fans and we see this when the PPV numbers come out.
AEW has been able to cultivate these paying fans due to several reasons:
- Giving people a reason to invest their money on the promotion
- Consistent good booking
- Giving people what they want
Creating these types of fans is not easy and takes a long time, but AEW has been able to do it in 3 years. They can be hard to gain, but they are also very easy to lose with bad booking.
Casual fans most often work to make viewership numbers look bigger, and while in today’s TV wrestling business it’s important – considering TV is the most important source of revenue for promotion like WWE and AEW – having paying fans allow to create other sources of revenue like merchandise or PPV buys.
WWE has always catered towards casuals, and even more over these last 10 years. The best example of this is all the times they’ve brought back legends from the past to have temporary ratings bumps. While this strategy works in the short term, it also sacrifices the present.