WWE's Ratings Dilemma: RAW Struggles Against Football's Rise

Pro wrestling juggernaut WWE confronts a viewership downturn challenge.

by Noman Rasool
WWE's Ratings Dilemma: RAW Struggles Against Football's Rise
© Tyler Ty8/YouTube

In a significant shift for the world of professional wrestling, WWE's flagship show, Monday Night Raw, is reportedly on the brink of a major broadcasting transition. Amidst a challenging viewership landscape, where Raw has experienced a noticeable decline, partly attributed to stiff competition from Monday Night Football, WWE is actively seeking a new broadcasting platform for its renowned show.

This week's Raw episode saw a 4% drop in viewership compared to the previous week, with a particularly notable decrease of 6% in the crucial 18-49 demographic, registering a 0.66 rating. In stark contrast, Monday Night Football continues to dominate, boasting an impressive average viewership of 17.68 million across various platforms.

Over the years, Raw has faced an 11% viewership decline, a trend that WWE is eager to reverse. The current broadcasting scenario sees Raw aired on the USA Network, which, unlike its competitor ABC Network – home to Monday Night Football – offers limited simulcast options and generally attracts a smaller audience.

This disparity in network reach is a key factor in the viewership differences between the two programs.

WWE's Network Shift

However, the landscape is poised for change. Recent developments indicate that WWE is close to finalizing a deal with the CW network to air WWE NXT starting October 2024 for five years.

This move to a major television network, known for its broader audience base, marks a new chapter for the brand. Following NXT's footsteps, Raw and SmackDown are also set to migrate to new networks. Speculation is rife that Raw may find its new home on FX, a move that would end its nearly two-decade-long association with the USA Network.

The transition to FX, expected to commence by October next year, could significantly bolster Raw's viewership and presence in the competitive sports entertainment landscape. This strategic shift comes at a crucial time for WWE, as it aims to recapture and expand its audience base, adapting to the evolving media consumption habits of viewers.

The potential move to FX, a network with a diverse and extensive reach, could be a game-changer for Raw, offering new opportunities for growth and engagement with wrestling fans across the nation.