Live attendance numbers and television ratings have become the latest hot topic now that WWE is facing a little bit of competition from All Elite Wrestling. Fans of both companies endlessly argue on social media about which company is “winning.” In the last quarter of 2021, AEW Dynamite pulled in more live fans than WWE Raw.
The discussion is sure to get heated once more now that the 2022 numbers are starting to roll in. In the final quarter of 2021, AEW averaged about 1,500 less fans at Dynamite than Smackdown. Raw averaged slightly less than Dynamite.
Dave Meltzer ran down the figures in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter. WWE actually lost to AEW in average attendance for the quarter. Several factors could have come into play.
“We’ll go with attendance first. From October through the end of December. For the quarter, AEW averaged 5,644 paid. Smackdown television tapings averaged 7,083 paid, which does have the advantage of being on Friday nights. Raw television tapings averaged 5,377 paid. WWE house shows in the U.S. averaged 3,947 paid. They have the advantage of being on weekends, but house shows are not as big a draw as television tapings.
Overall if you are talking average attendance for the quarter, AEW is actually ahead by a 5,644 to 5,150 paid margin. But that is misleading since AEW doesn’t run house shows that would likely decrease their average. That said, it is still a huge news story that AEW is ahead in any form, and in particular ahead in both the New York and Chicago markets.”
Tony Khan has been quick to boast when AEW beats WWE in ratings or attendance. WWE fans will say a lack of house shows gives AEW a boost. AEW fans will say that total numbers matter, while pushing demographics as a reason to claim victory for their favorite show. In the end, it’s the advertisers, networks, and executive opinions that really matter.
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