WWE SummerSlam inside Allegiant Stadium, headlined by Roman Reigns vs. John Cena, was an overwhelming success as WWE aired its first full-stadium show since the pandemic. SummerSlam also featured the returns of Brock Lesnar and Becky Lynch.
With news of CM Punk overdelivering for AEW Rampage, which garnered an impressive 1.129 million viewers, top star Roman Reigns—who has not held back in criticizing AEW’s newest signee—seemed to shade the former WWE Superstar by tweeting “legitimate needle moving” in response to SummerSlam’s record-breaking numbers.
Not only did WWE SummerSlam deliver from a live entertainment standpoint, with a sell-out crowd and huge increases in merchandise sales, SummerSlam was also the most-watched SummerSlam in company history with fans from all over the world watching across Peacock and the WWE Network.
WWE SummerSlam 2021 Breaks Attendance, Streaming Records
WWE announced the following highlights for SummerSlam 2021 per press release:
- More people watched Saturday’s event live across Peacock and WWE Network than any other SummerSlam in the company’s history. The seven-figure global audience marked a 55% increase over 2020 and a 29% increase over 2019;
- The sell-out crowd of 51,326 broke SummerSlam records for indoor attendance and gate receipts. With tickets purchased by fans from all 50 U.S. states, Saturday’s live gate was more than four times greater than the last SummerSlam held with fans in attendance in 2019;
- Merchandise sales posted an increase of 155% over 2019;
- SummerSlam set a new sponsorship record, growing by 25% vs. 2019 and 18% vs. 2020;
- With more than four million views, Brock Lesnar’s return became WWE’s most-watched Instagram video of all-time – surpassing the video of John Cena’s return at Money In The Bank. In total, SummerSlam videos generated more than one billion views across all WWE social platforms during the week.
WWE Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan recently sat down with Ariel Helwani of BT Sports and discussed WWE’s “open for business” model, noting the company intends to be receptive to working with any reputable sponsors to forge worthwhile partnerships. Khan also discussed WWE’s strategy of selling more localized merchandise unique to the venue, which saw sales of Raiders and Las Vegas-centric merchandise including limited-edition Vince McMahon “Billionaire Bucks” t-shirts.
“In our merchandise business, our e-commerce sales—like any other company during the pandemic—were very, very high. Going back into arenas, our sales of in-venue merchandise; also up about 50%,” said Khan.
“Why is that? We’ve sort of created a localized product per city. So [at SummerSlam], there’s going to be a lot of Las Vegas-centric WWE merchandise that you can only buy in-venue, and ultimately it’ll go online also. But rather than just hoping and expecting that our fans are going to buy the same Roman Reigns shirt that they could have bought a week ago online, we have a collab with the Raiders, we have a collab with the Golden Knights…”
WWE Superstars compared the stadium showcase to a WrestleMania-type event as WWE promoted its “Biggest Party of the Summer” on a similar scale to its biggest event of the year.
“It definitely has a WrestleMania feel,” said new United States champion Damian Priest during an exclusive interview at a media event.
“For me, it’s kind of hard to say ‘is it more of a WrestleMania’ because I just experienced my first WrestleMania, so that’s still huge for me personally. But I understand where it’s this many people, the vibe around it, everybody’s saying it’s a WrestleMania feel.
WWE’s successful partnership with Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium will see a follow-up event in 2022 when WWE returns to Las Vegas for Money in the Bank during July 4 weekend.