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AEW and WWE Ratings Wrap-Up: Effects of COVID-19 On Ratings

covid-19 on ratings

With ABC airing Game 2 of the World Series directly opposite AEW Dynamite and NXT, both shows were down from last week in terms of overall viewership. The numbers ended up being almost identical across the board as they were 2 weeks ago vs the Vice Presidential Debate.

This week’s numbers:

Dynamite averaged 753,00 viewers, down 8.8% from last week. In the 18-49 demo, the show ranked 13th overall on cable with a 0.30 rating, identical to last week.

NXT averaged 644,000 viewers, down 1.1% from last week. In 18-49, the show ranked 56th on cable with a 0.16 rating, down 5.9% from last week.

The combined wrestling audience of 1.397 million viewers was down 5.4% from last week. It was almost identical to 2 weeks ago where they did 1.392 million viewers. The combined 18-46 number was down 2.1%, to 0.46.

Monday Night RAW on October 20th averaged 1.776 million viewers, down 4.2% from last week. The show averaged 0.52 in the 18-49 demo, 4th overall on cable. It was the #1 non-sports show in the demo. The number was down 8.9% from last week but identical to 2 weeks ago when it aired against 2 NFL games.

FOX’s Friday Night Smackdown on October 17th averaged 2.124 million viewers, down 2.5% from last week. The show averaged the same 0.6 in 18-49 that they did last week.

Year over year comparisons:

As compared to last year on the same week:

AEW Dynamite was down 21.8% in overall viewers and 33.3% in 18-49.

NXT was down 7.7% overall and 23.8% in 18-49.

Monday Night RAW was down 30.3% in overall viewers and 15.9% in 18-49.

Friday Night Smackdown was down 12.2% in overall viewers and 14.3% in 18-49

Ratings Extra:

Beginning with the March 16th episode of Monday Night RAW, all 4 nationally televised wrestling shows have aired before little or no fans. The declining ratings in the summer were, for the most part, blamed on the new realities as a result of COVID-19.

Since that day, AEW Dynamite has aired 32 episodes, averaging 780,000 viewers. In the 21 weeks preceding that date, they aired 20 episodes, missing Christmas Day, and averaging 855,000 viewers. That’s a drop of 8.8% during the COVID era.

In the same time frame, NXT has also aired 32 episodes, averaging 697,000 viewers, They had 21 episodes in 21 weeks prior to that, averaging 749,000. That’s a decline of 6.9%, so it held up slightly better than AEW.

Monday Night RAW has averaged 1.806 million viewers in the similar period. This compares to 2.207 million before COVID-19. That’s a drop of 18.2%; a far greater decline than either of the two Wednesday night shows for WWE’s flagship.

Friday Night Smackdown averaged 2.114 million viewers since COVID-19. Prior to that, the show averaged 2.465 million, removing the one week the show aired on FS 1 from calculations. The drop there is 14.2%.

Conclusion:

I believe that the competition on Wednesday nights has helped the ratings maintain a level closer to what they were pre-pandemic. WWE main roster programming had been stale according to many observers and nonsensical according to others, myself included. As shown last week, the addition of the ThunderDome on RAW, Smackdown and NXT has helped the ratings. In addition, fans have been allowed to attend Daly’s Place for AEW. It will be interesting to see the numbers heading into WrestleMania season, traditionally the hottest time of the year for wrestling.

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