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WWE, AEW Experience Ratings Gains

“WWE NXT and AEW Dynamite enjoyed ratings gains while RAW and Smackdown produced the largest audiences.”

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The wrestling ratings war continued its constant battle as the calendar flipped to the first week of September. Except, as in weeks past where it has been a contest to see which company would win Wednesday night, it flipped to a rising tides lift all boats mentality.

Earlier in the week a rumor surfaced that World Wrestling Entertainment’s brand, “NXT” may be moving nights from Wednesday to Tuesday.

The brand saw a bump in ratings as they ran their “Super Tuesday” show that saw a four-man “Iron Man” match headline the night. The overnight rating came in at 849K and a .26 rating in the 18-49 male demo. The previous week, when the show ran uncontested due to All Elite Wrestling being preempted due to the NBA Playoffs, the show produced a total viewership of 824K and a .24 demo rating.

The rumor of moving to Tuesday Night permanently first came out from the Twitter handle @WrestlerVotes.

Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer newsletter had more news of a possible move from Wednesday to Tuesday adding: “Wrestling Observer Radio reports that Vince McMahon and the USA Network have the same mentality when it comes to AEW. They ultimately don’t want another wrestling company to succeed in attracting a fanbase like AEW has, especially considering that USA’s partnership with WWE is worth $265 million, while AEW and TNT are set at a $40 million deal.” (Wrestling INC.)

AEW’s go-home show before their “All Out” pay-per-view did one of the company’s best rating in their short time as a wrestling promotion. Headlined by the build to the pay-per-view’s main event, Jon Moxley defending his AEW World Title against challenger Maxwell Jacob Friedman, helped the show deliver total viewership of 928K and a .36 rating.

This number was even more impressive since AEW had to return to their normal time slot after previously bouncing around due to the NBA Playoffs. Over the prior two-weeks “Dynamite” had to move to Saturday, then Thursday. However, the promotion never saw a dip in their ratings as Saturday’s 8/22 show did 755K and Thursday’s broadcast did 813K.

On Monday night, WWE’s flagship show “RAW” saw a slight dip in their audience going from 2.02 million viewers to 1.89 million. However, the show still finished fourth for the night; only trailing the NBA playoffs.

RAW, compared to Dynamite and NXT, is a three hour show. Overall the program drew a high rating, however, the show saw a decrease in viewership throughout each hour.

Hour One: 2.10 million

Hour Two: 1.88 million

Hour Three: 1.70 million

Friday Night Smackdown airs tonight, therefore those ratings numbers won’t be available until next week. Last week’s episode which saw Roman Reigns confirm his heel turn and align with Paul Heyman produced an average of 2,181,000 viewers, including a peak during the first hour where 2,210,000 fans tuned in. The show received a 0.6 rating among the key 18-49 demographic.

Wrestling as a whole had a great week. RAW’s large audience on Monday night helped NXT have a solid lead in where viewers didn’t have to wait a day to watch WWE’s NXT show. The same goes for AEW not having to share its audience, helping them come close to eclipsing the one-million total viewer mark.

Wrestling fans love to romanticize about the “Monday Night Wars” where there were more people watching cable television back in 1997-99. However, with more viewers dropping cable for streaming services, the days of flipping the channel back and forth between WWE (back then WWF) and World Championship Wrestling are long gone.

It makes more sense to let each promotion have their own night on prime time cable television. Each company has their chance to captivate the wrestling audience without having to lose a small group of people to the other company.

Rising tides lift all ships, and in this case rising ratings lifts all wrestling promotions.

T.J. McAloon is a freelance writer, Texas High School football journalist, and avid follower of the professional wrestling business. He can be reached on Twitter @TJMcAloon or by email at TMcAloon18@gmail.com.

Sports TV News

FOX Doubles Ad Price For Premiere US World Cup Matches

FOX has capitalized by charging $600,000 per 30-second commercial during its coverage of USA/England.

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The 2022 World Cup is underway and the opener received a gigantic ratings increase for FOX Sports. Now, according to a report from Front Office Sports, the network has doubled its ad price for the USA match versus England.

USA/England will air in a lucrative window, at 2:00 PM ET on Black Friday, and FOX has capitalized by charging $600,000 per 30-second commercial during its coverage of the match. That price, according to Front Office Sports reporters Michael McCarthy and Doug Greenberg, is double what the network had asked for from advertisers for other matches.

While the event opener saw a sharp increase, the first match featuring the United States saw a decline from previous World Cup openers for the country. 11.71 million watched the match in the US between FOX Sports and Telemundo. In 2014, 11.1 million watched on ESPN and in 2010 13 million watched the first US match on ABC.

Analysists have predicted FOX Sports could garner nearly $125 million in ad revenue for the duration of the tournament.

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Telemundo’s Miguel Gurwitz Announcing World Cup, NFL Thanksgiving Games For 18 Straight Hours Thursday

With the game expected to end at 2:00 AM local time, that means Gurwitz will be announcing games for over 18 hours on Thursday.

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With the World Cup happening at an unprecedented time, there were bound to be scheduling conflicts. The conflicts for Telemundo’s Miguel Gurwitz, however, might be the real unprecedented nature of the event being played in November.

Gurwitz works on Telemundo’s coverage of the World Cup while calling matches as the secondary play-by-play announcer. Beginning at 11:00 AM in Doha, Gurwitz will work the network’s coverage of the event.

But as the soccer day turns to tonight, Gurwitz will call Telemundo’s broadcast of the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings game from Qatar. With the game expected to end at 2:00 AM local time, that means Gurwitz will be announcing games for over 18 hours on Thursday.

He will also do the feat again on Sunday, as he’ll broadcast World Cup matches for the network during the day and then announce the Packers and Eagles game for Sunday Night Football.

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Kevin Burkhardt: ‘Honor To Be In People’s Homes’ During Thanksgiving Broadcast

“There were a couple on the calendar that I thought that it might hit me and be very, very cool.”

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On Thanksgiving, Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen will call their first Thanksgiving Day game for FOX when the New York Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys (4:30 PM ET). It’s been a memorable year for Burkhardt and Olsen in their first year as the A broadcast team for FOX that will end in the duo calling the Super Bowl in February.

Burkhardt was a guest on The Season with Peter Schrager podcast this week and talked about the honor of getting the chance to be on the call for a Thanksgiving Day game.

“The whole job is big and we are doing big games every week. There were a couple on the calendar that I thought that it might hit me and be very, very cool. One of them was Dallas-Green Bay, which turned out to be epic a couple of weeks ago.

“The playoffs and the Super Bowl will be great, but Thanksgiving Day. Growing up in a football family, it was kind of eating around both games. Catch the early game, halftime, go throw the football in the street, eat the meal between games, then the Cowboys game comes on, you watch that. Maybe halftime you watch or maybe you throw the football again. Watch the rest of the game, you have dessert after the game. That was the day.

“It is an honor because you are in a lot of people’s homes every week. I feel like you really are in people’s homes…. You are kind of like hugging everybody. I think it’s beyond awesome, I really do.”

Burkhardt mentioned to Schrager that he and Olsen knew they had big shoes to fill after taking over for Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (both now at ESPN) and it felt like walking in to a new job, but the A crew at FOX helped them and he liked that he and Olsen got to do it together.

“It’s been awesome. It really has. When you go into a situation like this, Joe and Troy were there for 2 decades, that’s a long time. People have long-standing relationships. Even though I’ve been at FOX for 9 years and Greg was there last year, we are the new guys essentially.

“You walk in, you don’t know how they are going to react to you, what they are going to think of you, if they think you are any good and all that stuff. From Day 1, it was like welcome to the family, we love you. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s been awesome. It felt like we’ve just fit right in. I think there’s been some cool symmetry, the fact that Greg and I got to do it together because we have such a bond.

“The fact that we got to jump in together I think has kind of been fun and helped us both because he knows me really well and I know him really well. Then, it was just getting everyone else to know us and vice versa.”

The one thing that Burkhardt did have to adjust to was a different style of show and that each production team has different viewpoint and creativity.

“The crew I’ve been on my whole life with Pete Macheska and Artie Kempner, they do a different show than Z (Richie Zyontz) and Russo (Rich Russo) do it. It’s not good, bad, or indifferent. Everyone has different viewpoints and creativity. I think it was just getting used to each other in terms of that, but it’s felt like I’ve worked with them for 25 years. It’s felt seamless. It’s felt fun.”

Even though Burkhardt is now the lead NFL play-by-play voice for FOX, that doesn’t mean he is going to change how he does a game.

“I’m not going to change my style or who I am. I’m not saying I’m not open to critiques and wanting to get better and to get coached. The basis of what I do and how I do it, I’m not going to change that now because I’m on the A crew. They liked me enough to put me here, so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. Maybe tweaks here and there, but if I radically changed now, I’d be a moron.” 

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