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AEW and WWE Ratings Report: Brodie Lee Tribute show a massive ratings success for AEW Dynamite

brodie lee tribute show

The Big News

AEW Dynamite averaged 977,000 viewers on Wednesday December 30th. It was the 2nd highest number of the year for the show on a night where they were opposed by NXT. They also scored their biggest victory to date in the 18-49 demo. They more than tripled AEW in that category with a 0.40 to 0.12 for NXT.

This Week’s Numbers

Dynamite was up 26.1% in overall viewership from the December 23rd show and up 25% in the demo. They finished 4th overall on cable in that category, trailing only two NCAA Bowl games and the post game show for one of the games.

NXT’s audience was the 3rd lowest all-time for the show, trailing only the March 18th and January 1st shows from this year. Those shows both featured clips and video packages and no original wrestling content so it was really the lowest ever for a regular show.

The 391,000 gap between the two shows trailed only January 1st of last year, when NXT had the clip show, and October 2, 2019, the night of Dynamite’s debut.

The gap of 0.28 between the demo numbers was second only to the night of the Dynamite debut but in terms of percentages, it was the largest win for AEW as they had never before tripled NXT in the demo.

The overall viewership for Wednesday of 1.561 million was up 6% from last week. The combined 18-49 number was up 2%.

Monday Night RAW on December 28th averaged 1.769 million viewers, up 4.7% from the previous week. It’s likely that small increase may have been related to the death of Jon Huber over that weekend and curiosity over how WWE would respond to it. The show did a 0.52 rating in 18-49, down 1.9% from the previous week.

Smackdown on Christmas Night averaged 3.303 million viewers, its biggest audience since their debut on FOX in October 2019. That number was directly tied to the lead-in from the NFL game earlier that day that ended just before Smackdown started and averaged 23 million viewers.

The show started with over 5 million viewers for the Kevin Owens/Roman Reigns cage match but had dropped in half by the end of the show. It still ended up at a higher level by the end than what the show has been doing of late.

The show was up 45.2% in viewership from 2 weeks earlier, when it last aired on FOX.

In 18-49, the show averaged a 0.96 rating, up 60% from the show 2 weeks earlier. That beat everything on network TV with the exception of the NBA game on ESPN.

Year-Over-Year Numbers

AEW Dynamite was up 1% in overall viewership and 11.1% in 18-49. This is as compared to the January 1, 2020 show, which was 52 weeks earlier. So even though both shows were in 2020, it was one year ago.

NXT was down 20% in the demo but up 6.9% in overall viewers.

RAW was the only show that dropped year-over-year. In overall viewership, the show was down 27.3%. In 18-49 they were down 32.5%.

Smackdown was up 35.9% in overall viewership and 37.1% in 18-49.

Ratings Extra

At the end of each quarter, I look at the cumulative ratings for the 3 month period as compared to the previous year for all the shows. Since it’s also the year end, we’ll also look at the year end cumulative averages but can only compare RAW to last year as the other 3 shows only started on their current stations in October 2019.

AEW Dynamite averaged 816,923 viewers for the quarter, which covers shows from October 7th through December 30th. In the last quarter of 2019 (which includes the first week of 2020 for purposes of this comparison), the show averaged 905,923 viewers. That’s a drop of 9.8% year over year.

In the same time frame, AEW averaged a 0.34 rating this year. Last year, they averaged 0.38 in that category. That’s a drop of 10.5% year over year.

NXT averaged 674,538 viewers this past quarter as compared to 768,357 last year. The drop in 2020 was 12.2% year over year.

In 18-49, NXT averaged 0.17 this year. That compares to 0.24 last year, a drop of 29.2%. That’s the main category that the network is concerned with and that type of drop could be a problem for the show if it continues.

Monday Night RAW averaged 1,726,216 viewers this past quarter. This includes shows from October 5th through December 28th. Over the same quarter in 2019 the show averaged 2,197,814 viewers. The drop year over year was 21.5%.

In 18-49, RAW averaged a 0.52 rating this past quarter as compared to 0.71 last year. The drop in that category was 26.8%, so very similar to NXT which happens to air on the same network.

Friday Night Smackdown averaged 2,100,692 viewers this quarter but that includes 2 shows on FS1 as well as the Christmas night show, which was artificially high. The previous year, the show averaged 2,460,538 viewers. The drop in 2020 was 14.6%. Removing the FS1 shows from the comparison, the show averaged 2,308,909 viewers this year and 2,591,583 last year so the drop was only 10.9%.

In 18-49, the show averaged a 0.60 rating this quarter as compared to 0.77 last year, a drop of 22.1%. Looking only at the FOX shows, the numbers were 0.66 this year and 0.82 in 2019 so the drop was only 19.5%. That’s still much higher than television as a whole is dropping in that demo so it’s got to be somewhat concerning.

For the year of 2020, which was actually 53 weeks for AEW, the show averaged 810,755 viewers and a 0.31 rating in 18-49.

NXT, which covers the same period, averaged 698,623 viewers and 0.19 in 18-49.

Monday Night RAW averaged 1,889,046 viewers for the year, the first time the show ever fell below 2 million for a year. The show averaged 2,417,918 viewers in 2019 so the year over year drop is 21.9%. In 18-49, the show averaged a 0.57 in 18-49. In 2019, they averaged 0.80 in the same category so it was a drop of 28.8%.

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