WWE Television Ratings Don’t Matter Anymore


In a world dominated by social media and the evolving online world, television ratings don’t seem to be of major importance to Vince McMahon and the rest of WWE’s front office.

The concept that the world of professional wrestling, I mean sports-entertainment, has changed since the days where the internet was still developing and television was the dominant form of media.

Then again, newspapers were dominant early on before the internet took over and news is published everywhere. Television seems to be next with more people subscribing to streaming services and using the almighty YouTube for more content; leaving television ratings to be a lot lower than before. The new normal seems to be closer to 3.0 than the 4.0 seen more commonly a few years ago.

More wwe: WrestleMania 32 Card Projections 8.0

At first glance, many of us view the WWE’s television ratings as a sign of tough times financially. But that’s not how Vince McMahon and the rest of the corporate team in Stamford, Conn., are looking at it.

More from WWE

During the most recent quarterly call earlier this week (full recap found here), one of the investors brought up how people don’t want television as often as they use to and cited how there have different ways today’s forms of media are consumed. This is why there is a big focus on social media and digital content for the wrestling company.

Back in the 1990s and even the early 2000s, programs would live and die by the ratings. But when you consider that there are millions signed up for the WWE Network, and the WWE has nearly 10 million YouTube subscribers in addition to their social media following, not making a rating of 3.0 or higher seems less and less important to McMahon and his staff.

If ratings were really that big of a deal, then a show like Lucha Underground wouldn’t have been picked up for a third season when they haven’t reached 500,000 viewers. Many of us DVR episodes of Raw or SmackDown or use the WWE Network to catch up on what we miss while also reflecting on the classics.

There is truth to WWE not being worried, so the lack of people tuning in on Monday and Thursday nights is no longer going to factor into the creative team making changes from their plans for who gets pushed and who becomes a jobber. It’s social media that is taking over and there are two recent examples of how it has factored in WWE’s creative plans.

There was a fan backlash, including social media, regarding the rumored plans of Braun Strowman being the one to face the Undertaker at the upcoming WrestleMania 32 event; but that has been nixed with Strowman likely having to settle for the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (at least that helps him develop more).

Related Story: Why is Fastlane About Ambrose?

Then there were fans who wrote online about their displeasure with the WWE suspending Titus O’Neil for his “playful but physical” conduct towards Vince McMahon in the moments following Daniel Bryan’s retirement. This led to the controversial suspension of 90 days to be reduced down to 60 days, although O’Neill will still miss the biggest event of the year.

The fans still have powers to affect the WWE; it just takes more than changing the channel at home.