Understanding Out of Control Prices
September 4, 2007 by Blake L.

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Let's face it people. Money doesn't grow on trees. Some people have to work hard for their money, while others have some support from family members or friends. Either way, it's safe to say that not many people want to waste money. We live in a society where the more money we have, the more powerful we are perceived to be. And when we want something, we pay out the cash for it. Good or bad, if we want to experience it, we're paying the money for it.

This brings me to current pay-per-view prices. Specifically, current WWE pay-per-view prices. I'm beginning to see more and more fans out there complain about the current price tag on these shows. I find this to be a very interesting subject. Do they have a point? Let's take a look.

I can't exactly recall when the price started to drastically increase, but I'm thinking it was several years ago. At one point, it was $29.95, and before you knew it, it was $34.95. Then all hell broke loose, and it jumped to $39.95. I could understand paying forty bucks for a pay-per-view such as Wrestlemania, but paying that amount for every single pay-per-view? Not that I blame the WWE for doing it, because they know that people are going to pay that amount no matter what. But until the product improves, should we really have to pay forty bucks to see matches such as The Great Khali vs. Batista?

Perhaps it all began when Vince McMahon purchased WCW, which led to many changes in the business. It's obvious Vince felt as though by buying the competition, profits would increase for him, because wrestling fans would have no other alternative. And profits have increased. Pay-per-view prices were jacked up a couple dollars, leaving diehard fans with no choice but to accept the price raise, and keep on watching as usual. Hey, it's a good business move without a doubt. And like I've said, you can't blame McMahon. We would all likely do about the same thing if we were in his shoes. For the fans though, it seems like a bad deal. The price has increased, but at what cost? By increasing the price, you are pretty much stating that the show you are buying is worth more, right? That's not the case though. The product definitely hasn't made a ten dollar increase every month.

TNA has tried to be that alternative, but just doesn't have the money to compete with empire McMahon has built. While TNA's pay-per-view prices are at the $29.95 mark, it just doesn't provide the professional wrestling fan with the same type of entertainment WWE does. You can say that TNA is more entertaining, but with the ratings in the 1.0 region compared to the WWE's 4.0 region, it's hard to truly believe that.

We all have different opinions on the current state of the WWE product. Some of us feel as though it's the worst it's been in many years, while others feel it's on the way back up. On one side, you know the product is struggling when The Great Khali is the top guy on the Smackdown brand. On the other side, with the return of Triple H, and the eventual return of The Undertaker, the product may improve, providing us with better pay-per-views. But right now, it's hard to convince me that these pay-per-views are worth the high price tag.

From about 2000-2004, I ordered every pay-per-view event that the WWE produced. At that stage in wrestling history, I thought it was worth it. This was before the price increase occurred, and thirty dollars seemed reasonable I suppose. However, let's look at the math. Don't worry, if you're terrible at math, I'll make this easy for you. On average, 12 shows per year over four years, equals 48 shows. Throw that 48 in there, and multiply it by $29.95, and including tax, you're looking at around $1,450 bucks over a four year span. Some of you may look at that as a ridiculous amount, some may look at it as very reasonable. It's your decision.

Let's look at Summerslam. I'll admit, I spent the money to watch Summerslam. It was the first show I ordered since Wrestlemania. Overall, you can say what you want, but it wasn't anything spectacular. It's a pay-per-view that will be forgotten by next month by many wrestling fans. In my opinion, it was a waste of forty dollars. It was good to see Stone Cold Steve Austin, the return of Triple H and Rey Mysterio, and the Cena-Orton match. Honestly though folks, is it worth that high amount just for that? In my honest opinion, it's not.

Another concept to look at is the number of pay-per-views being produced. Now I know there has been talks of decreasing the number of shows per year, which would definitely benefit the fans in my opinion. Case in point, look back at the end of May and early June. There were three pay-per-views, Judgment Day, One Night Stand, and Vengeance, all within a couple weeks of each other. Add all those prices up, and some people out there paid around $120 in about a month span. And which one of those shows were overwhelmingly great?

What particularly hurts the most in my opinion, is the fact that it would almost be impossible to convince the WWE to do something with it's prices. In a perfect world, fans could stage a protest and demand a better product, or stop purchasing pay-per-views. However, this isn't a perfect world. It's almost disappointing that it's completely out of our control. Diehard wrestling fans really have no alternative. By not watching the shows on Sunday nights, you feel like you're going to miss something amazing. Maybe that's why some people order every single pay-per-view though; for the chance to see something outstanding, something that hasn't been done before.

After evaluating all this, here's what it comes down to in my opinion. You can complain all you want, but until there is worthy competition, the WWE can continue to raise its prices. They can do it because "they are the only show in town" so-to-speak. We pay more for something that is of lesser quantity. With really only two mainstream promotions in the U.S., we're forced to deal with anything WWE throws at us. Unlike the Monday Night Wars' days, there's no other show to turn to if one is completely awful. We're stuck with it, or we must stop watching a sport/entertainment event that we love.

For fans who are complaining, I guess the big question to ask yourself is this. If the WWE decides to raise its price tag to $44.95 for all pay-per-views, will you pay for it? Some people will continue to give the money, while some won't. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be much of a surprise if the WWE decided to raise prices once again.

The current product has driven quite a few fans away from the WWE. Let's just hope that high prices doesn't drive even more people away.

Remember, what's good for business isn't necessarily what's good for us fans.

by Blake L. (View/Submit your feedback here)..

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