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NJPW News: New Japan Pro Wrestling sees big financial growth rate

New Japan Pro Wrestling grossed 3.2 billion yen ($28.8 million) in the last fiscal year and is set to increase this year.

News 18 May 2017, 23:06 IST
Will New Japan’s success transfer over to their expansion in the USA?

What’s the story?

New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) has picked up some major momentum in recent years with the success of The Bullet Club, Wrestle Kingdom, and other NJPW properties. This success and buzz have transferred to their finances as their current growth rate is up 16% from last year according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

In case you didn’t know...

NJPW was a promotion founded by wrestling legend Antonio Inoki in 1972 and has grown to become the second largest promotion in the world, behind WWE, and the largest wrestling promotion in Japan.

NJPW has been home to several of professional wrestling’s biggest stars from American wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, Daniel Bryan, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and Brock Lesnar to Japanese wrestlers like Último Dragon, Tatsumi Fujinami, Kenta Kobashi, and Shinsuke Nakamura.

NJPW has been praised by wrestling fans for their in-ring product and is considered by many to be superior to that of WWE and other companies. Two recent matches that fans have heavily praised are the match between IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega of The Bullet Club at the Wrestle Kingdom 11 as well as the match between Okada and Katsuyori Shibata at Sakura Genesis 2017.

The heart of the matter

The Wrestling Observer claims that NJPW has quadrupled their business since 2011 and that the current rate of growth will lead to their biggest grossing year in either 2018 or 2019.

In the last fiscal year, which is summer-to-summer, NJPW grossed 3.2 billion yen ($28.8 million). The company are projecting 3.7 billion ($33.3 million) for this fiscal year and claim they could reach as much as 4.5 to 5.0 billion yen ($41 to $45 million) for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The owner of the promotion, Takaaki Kidani, in a recent press conference claimed that NJPW had strong merchandise sales and that they are doing 20-25% of what WWE does in merchandise sales.

The only place for growth that’s proving difficult for them is international syndication.

What’s next?

While their business is doing great, Kidani has more goals that he would want to reach going forward. One of those goals is to eventually sellout the Tokyo Dome legitimately. This would mean 40,000 to 45,000 tickets beings sold for a show without comps.

Another goal he desired was to see 100,000 subscribers for New Japan World which would make it the most popular streaming service in Japan. However, this is a difficult task due to streaming services like Hulu and Netflix not being part of the culture and not doing well as a result.

Author’s Take

Professional wrestling’s popularity in the United States seems to be weakening, but this seems to be far from the case in Japan and other countries.

NJPW is the biggest professional wrestling company aside from the WWE, so it’s great to see the company doing well. Hopefully, their attempt at gaining more American fanbase proves successful this year.

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