Ratings for the NFL are on a real upswing this season. That is good news for everyone involved with that league, but it isn’t particularly good news for Vince McMahon. You can argue that he was counting on declining NFL ratings to give him the chance to position the return of the XFL as a sort of renaissance for “real football,” and that might still be true. The real concern though is what rising Monday Night Football ratings are doing to ratings for Monday Night Raw on USA Network.
The WWE’s premier broadcast was averaging over 3 million viewers per night in the lead up to Wrestlemania 34. Since that event though, ratings have slipped, and since the start of the football season it has been particularly dire.
Veteran wrestling journalist, Dave Meltzer, wrote that this past Monday saw a significant drop in audience for the WWE. Meltzer says the fall can be traced directly to the success of the Chiefs’ victory over Denver.
The audience fell through all three hours and the third hour was the least-watched hour of the show in more than 20 years, even with spending the episode promising a Shawn Michaels segment.
The big decline was in the over-50 audience, which would coincide with the best Monday rating of the season, as the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos game did 13.21 million viewers.
The actual rating isn’t available but it would be expected to be the second-lowest Monday night rating for wrestling ever on the USA Network.
The football game was ESPN’s highest rated Monday Night Football broadcast in over a year.
The falling ratings on Monday Night Raw might be more of an annoyance than a concern to the McMahon. The WWE has already signed lucrative new broadcast rights deals with USA Network and Fox. Plus, the company remains a force in the live events business both domestically and abroad. The company is set to stage events in Australia and Saudi Arabia in the coming months.