WWE Caught Lying About ‘WrestleMania’ Attendance Records

The WWE has a long history of inflating attendance in order to get media attention for so-called records. The biggest lie for the WWE came in 1987 when the WWE claimed that 93,179 people attended WrestleManiaIII, breaking the all-time indoor attendance record. Last year, the WWE did it again when they claimed that 101,763 people attended WrestleMania 32, breaking their own WrestleMania attendance record.

However, Fightful.com learned from the Arlington Police Department that only 80,709 fans walked through the turnstiles at WrestleMania 32. Of course, after the WWE claimed that over 100,000 people attended WrestleMania last year, and even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson came out in the middle of the event and announced it to the crowd, Vince McMahon admitted that it might be inflated.

Because the WWE is a publicly traded company, they can’t just throw out numbers like they did at WrestleMania III. They have to remain transparent due to laws concerning publicly traded companies. According to Vince McMahon, the 101,763-person WrestleMania attendance record also included those who didn’t have tickets such as event staff working the event. However, that means that over 20,000 people were at the event that never walked through a turnstile.

WWE Caught Lying About 'WrestleMania' Attendance Records
[Image by WWE]

WWE insider Dave Meltzer said that there were actually closer to 97,769 people at WrestleMania 32, although that still includes 17,000 people who didn’t enter through the turnstiles. While there is no way to prove it one way or the other, that means that there was a member of the event staff for every five ticketed individuals, which seems high.

The one number that the WWE couldn’t inflate was the total amount made on ticket sales. The gate for WrestleMania 32 brought in $17.3 million, which still breaks the previous WWE records. That is still an impressive number but doesn’t hold the same weight as telling people that over 100,000 people attended the event.

It is also interesting to note that the WrestleMania attendance record at WrestleMania III of 93,179 was actually closer to 78,000. That number was actually higher than that because the Pontiac Silverdome holds 78,000 for football games, and there were 7,000-8,000 seats on the field as well, so it was still over 80,000 at that event, which was still a record for the WWE.

Of course, the inflated WrestleMania attendance record for both events is not something that is unique to the WWE. In a report by Business in Vancouver, information obtained by the Freedom of Information Act indicates that the Vancouver Giants hockey team claimed they brought in 5,169 fans per game, but the number was actually 3,332 per game.

WWE Caught Lying About 'WrestleMania' Attendance Records
[Image by WWE]

Forbes reported that major sports teams would inflate attendance records because it brings in better sponsorships. The site reports that the attendance only counts people who buy tickets and not those who actually attend the event.

Forbes also reported that the NFL has to sell out their games or face local blackouts, so there are ways to inflate that. An example is when a restaurant owner bought between 7,000 to 8,000 tickets for the Buffalo Bills season finale so the game would not be blacked out.

However, the WWE inflated the attendance at WrestleMania III for media attention. Thirty years later, people still talk about that attendance record, so it worked.


The WWE wanted to eclipse the 100,000 mark when they put on the show at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. They created that number despite the new proof that it was false. Even the Dallas Cowboys bought into it and advertised the WrestleMania attendance record on their website, although it still ranked fifth after two NFL games, the NBA All-Star game, and a George Strait concert.

The WrestleMania attendance record brings in a lot of media and fan attention. It doesn’t help when the WWE is found liable for inflating those numbers.

[Featured Image by WWE]