As part of my Kickstarter book project, I've been working on mapping WWWF/WWF/WWE events to the major media markets surrounding them.
Today, I went through about 16,000 WWF events from 1970-2011 from TheHistoryofWWE and with the help of some zipcode databases and geo-coding tools, I was able to pull latitude/longitude addresses for the majority of events. Then, using a "Spherical Law of Cosines" formula, I calculated the approximate distance between each event and the top 30 US Television Markets.
Notes on my methodology
(a) I used a modern television market list. 25 years ago, I imagine there are some differences. If someone finds/has a good list of major television marketplaces in 1985, please share it with me.
(B) Graham's site often lists events that weren't WWF promoted, but maybe had a single WWF titleholder on them. For the most part, I ignored these events and did not count them as WWF events. So, I excluded a lot of Pittsburgh 1970-1974, Canada 1976-1987, St Louis 1974-1980 and FL results (Tampa/Orlando/Miami) 1973-1980. Some of these events probably should have counted, but if they didn't have a WWF in the name and the workers seemed to be mostly non-core WWF people, I didn't include them.
© Each event was mapped to: (i) one of the top 30 markets if it was within a set radius (ii) Canada, if in Canada (iii) international (if else).
(d) Radius was set at 75 miles. In reality, it might be appropriate for some markets to have wide radius and others more narrow, but for the sake of this, I just kept it steady at an arbitrary 75 miles.
(e) Includes events with no results/cancelled events. I could refine this to other events with results, but that would exclude some of the events that did take place and probably not sway the overall results much.
Average number of events per year
You can certainly see McMahon breaking into rival's territories when he's running Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Fran, Cleveland, Miami, St Louis, Indianapolis, Houston, Minneapolis-St Paul, Nasvhille, Atlanta and Charlotte.
Meanwhile, the number of shows he ran in his old hotbeds of Greater New York City, Boston, Philly all declined dramatically.
As you see in the graph, the % of time spent in major markets actually drops during the expansion, but that's because absolute # of shows went so high.
It goes from 79% of shows (261 shows) to 51% of shows (327 shows) from 1983-1991 to 41% (119 shows).
Top Performers (representing the top 80% of domestic WWF matches in each year) - number of miles traveled between shows in the U.S.:
You can see how the staggered shows were (crossing the country) at the 1984 expansion and how they changed from 1993-1996, and then the second boom in the late 90s leading to the current state.