The Mon., Sept. 11 episode of Raw had some of the worst numbers in the show’s 30 year+ history. That was in large part due to its going up against the first Monday Night Football broadcast of the NFL regular season.
On Mon., Sept. 18 WWE competed with two Monday Night Football games. The good news is, the .44 rating among 18-49 year olds was a 10% week-to-week improvement. The bad news is the average hourly audience of 1,331,000 was down slightly (< 2%). That means this week’s Raw set a new historical low in viewership (for a first run episode; the Dec. 26, 2022 “best of” episode had a fewer total viewers).
Like the week before, it’s not hard to see why. The first MNF game (New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers) started at 7pm ET. It aired on both ESPN & ESPN2 and was watched by 6.95 million while scoring a 2.19 rating in the demo. The second (Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns) aired at 8pm on ABC, and had a total audience of 15.43 with a 4.16 rating with the 18-49 crowd.
The ABC numbers are impressive, and represent a new challenge for Raw. That’s because the Disney-owned network announced this week they’re adding ten additional MNF games to its schedule. ABC were already planning to air eight Monday NFL games, and now the entire season will air on cable (Disney also owns the ESPN family of channels) and broadcast.
It’s a move to help ABC fill airtime during the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, which are impacting its content pipeline and its ability to promote scripted shows.
WWE was going to be competing with those games anyway, of course. But having them on ABC gives a lot more people access to them, which means more people can choose to watch those instead of Raw.
We’ll see how WWE’s Monday night numbers fare with the increased competition for the rest of the football season. In the meantime, you can catch up on other aspects of this past Monday’s show with our live blog, recap & review, and video highlights.