AEW All In attendance confusion resolved

The number of ticket fans admitted into AEW All In is still, as far as we know, 72,265.

AEW’s claimed that the number of tickets sold for the event at Wembley Stadium was 81,035. 

But there was more confusion yesterday after a screenshot of an email from the Brent Council circulated on social media, where the member of the council said the attendance for the event was 85,258.

The Brent Council is the local government entity that provided the 72,265 drop count number for All In, which we reported on earlier this month.

I believe the new number — 85,258 — is probably the number of tickets distributed, not the number of tickets sold, nor the number of ticketed fans admitted into the building.

The same member of the Brent Council, Chris Whyte, who disclosed the 85,258 number on Monday responded today to my follow-up email, writing:

Apologies, Yes, we’ve confirmed a revised figure for the turnstile entries of 72,265.

Sorry for any confusion.

Whyte clarified in a later email today that “tickets scanned” and “turnstile count” are the same thing.

I asked if the 85,258 number refers to tickets distributed and whether any of the numbers include suites, but those questions weren’t addressed.

In light of the confusion, I wrote a long tweet which I’ve repurposed and lightly edited here in case you haven’t already seen it.

First, for any live event, there is no such straightforward measurement we can strictly, merely call “attendance”.

Instead, there are at least these three different kinds of measurements, which you might hear people crudely call “attendance”.

Here’s what each of those numbers are for All In as far as we know and further below I will define these terms and their alternate names.

1. Tickets distributed: 85,258 (probably- the local government provided this number that I believe is tickets distributed)  

2. Tickets sold: 81,035 (according to AEW)  

3. Tickets used: 72,265 (according to the local government)   

Now let’s define these terms.

1. Tickets distributed: The number of tickets sold plus tickets given away for free. Put another way- paid plus comps. I believe All In’s tickets distributed count was probably 85,528, as disclosed recently. Again, that would be a little higher (plausibly so) than the WrestleTix estimate of tickets distributed of 83,131.  

2. Tickets sold aka paid attendance: The number of tickets actually sold. To be pedantic, “paid attendance” is a bit misleading. One could interpret “paid attendance” as the number of tickets that were sold that were also used. That’s almost certainly not what AEW meant by “paid attendance” of 81,035; AEW is claiming they sold 81,035 tickets, regardless of whether they were ultimately used for admission. Clearly, many were not used.  

3. Tickets used aka turnstile count aka drop count aka scan count: The number of tickets that were actually recorded as used for admission. Don’t get hung up on “turnstile” here. It’s anachronistic. Many venues don’t have literal turnstiles anymore. Many tickets, especially comps, never get used. Was your ticket scanned when you entered? You went through the “turnstile”! Also, a ticket that never got sold on the secondary market would never get used.

I asked on the Tony Khan media call in August before All In for AEW to make the ticket report available to the media, which of course would be unusual but might mitigate controversy. The report hasn’t been made available and controversy has predictably ensued.

The gap between tickets sold and the number of tickets used for admission — 8,770 — is conspicuously wide. This means 11% of tickets sold weren’t used. Multiple AEW sources have told me the margin by percentage is typical for an AEW event and that the tickets sold number announced on the show is legitimate. 

We have only a few events for which we have both drop count and tickets sold numbers. I haven’t been able to find yet an AEW or WWE event with a similar difference by percentage between tickets sold and drop count, with the exception of the Wrestlemania 37 event from 2021. That was WWE’s half-capacity Wrestlemania and its first events since the pandemic shutdown. You can imagine health and safety concerns were a contributing factor in determining whether tickets were used for those events, which wouldn’t be comparable for All In 2023.

Then what’s the biggest verifiable attendance in pro wrestling history?

The answer to that question hasn’t changed except that more people have been more confused since yesterday.

Excluding shows in North Korea in 1995 that attendees were directed to go to…

Wrestlemania 32 in 2016 had a higher turnstile count (drop count aka tickets scanned aka tickets used) of 80,709, according to the Arlington Police, more than 8,000 greater than All In 2023. Even if All In 2023’s 72,265 doesn’t include suites, there aren’t enough suites in Wembley Stadium for All In to come close to 80,709.

Yes, I’m confident there were more people (ticketed fans, not just “heartbeats”) in AT&T Stadium for Wrestlemania 32 than in Wembley Stadium for All In 2023 — by at least a few thousand.

We only know that the tickets sold count for Wrestlemania 32 was between 73,711 and 85,888, a range All In falls near the middle of.

We know the range of tickets sold for Wrestlemania 32 because of WWE’s very own disclosures about quarterly ticket sales. WWE breaks out (and has each year since 2008), the quarterly average with and without Wrestlemania, rounded to the nearest hundred, which allows us to calculate the range of tickets sold for Wrestlemania.

Wrestlemania 3 is in the conversation, yes. There isn’t enough information for me to feel I can make a strong conclusion on where the Pontiac Silverdome event stands among Wrestlemania 32 and All In. 

If Wrestlemania 3 was a sell-out I think its drop count was higher than both WM32 and All In 2023. We explored that question in a recent episode of Wrestlenomics Radio. The clip is here.

Brandon Thurston

Brandon Thurston has written about wrestling business since 2015. He’s also worked as an independent wrestler and trainer.

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