New study examines why fewer adults watch professional wrestling


A new study looks at why wrestling is declining in view counts. The Variety Intelligence Platform released a report using the date of a YouGov survey asking adults why they stopped watching pro wrestling, noting that Raw viewership declined by around 2 million from 2015 to 2020. study examines several main issues, some of which you can see the details of below.The YouGov poll spoke with 471 adults, defined as those 18 years of age or older, who watched at least one of WWE NXT, RAW, SmackDown, or AEW Dynamite listings. The poll revealed the following reasons why people explained why they stopped watching pro wrestling (respondents were able to choose more than one response):

It seemed more cartoonish to me than when I loved it: 30%
The scenarios were not as good / interesting: 29%
The characters were not as good / interesting: 28%
Matches were not as good / interesting: 26%
Other: 24%
The content was more geared towards children: 14%
Not sure: 12%
The ad was not as good: 9%
The show was not listening to fans: 7%

Another question was asked of 1,200 adults, aged 18 or older, about their wrestling viewing habits. The results of this study found that 55% currently watched or used to watch wrestling, but only 12% do now:

I have never watched a program or series: 43%
I used to watch pro wrestling, but I don’t anymore: 43%
I currently watch professional wrestling regularly or occasionally: 12%
I don’t know: 2%

Fans who no longer watch professional wrestling in the United States were also interviewed. YouGov interviewed 652 adults aged 18 or older who no longer watch professional wrestling, about wrestling shows they previously watched. The following data was collected:

WWE RAW: 55%
SmackDown WWE: 55%
WWE NXT: 10%
Dynamite AEW: 3%
None of the above: 28%

The report also notes that WWE’s issues in particular are compounded by yet another issue: watching the biggest children’s networks (Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Nick Jr., Cartoon Network, Nicktoons, Disney XD, Boomerang, and Universal Kids), in prime time viewing habits fell 49%. This had an impact on WWE, which of course shifted its programming to a more family-friendly product in the mid-2000s to allow for bigger, more lucrative sponsors. The broadcasts remain TV-PG to this day.

You can see all the details of the study at the link above.


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