WWE’s disappointing Q1 2019 earning results highlighted the decrease in viewership and attendance that the company is going through right now, a trend that has been recurring for the past several quarters.
McMahon and company are blaming the results on talent absences, a ridiculous suggestion to say the very least considering the vast amount of talent still on hand at their disposal.
When it comes to television ratings, Monday Night Raw fell 14% in the first quarter and Smackdown fell 13%. That is a huge drop when the average cable television drop in viewership at the moment is around 5%. The last time Raw hit a 3 million viewer average was in August 2018 while Smackdown last hit a 2.5 million viewer mark in October 2018.
But television ratings is not the only problem for WWE. For the past few years, live attendance has taken a huge hit. In the last quarter earnings results conference call, McMahon said they “know” what’s wrong and how to fix it, but that fix did not come, at least not for Q1 2019. In fact, WWE live events in North America declined 11% to just an average of 4,800 attendance per show.
And with less and less fans attending live events, merchandise also takes a hit with it. WWE recorded an 11% decrease in merchandising sales both on WWEShop.com and at live event venues, and WWE attributes the problem of the latter due to lower attendance.