TNA vs. WWE – UK Wrestling Ratings War: The Facts

TNA Wrestling on Challenge: More to it's success than Freeview

TNA Wrestling on Challenge: More to it's success than Freeview

Yesterday saw the announcement of yet more record high viewership numbers for TNA Wrestling on Challenge. I’ve been proud of this sites unrivalled analysis of the weekly UK wrestling ratings and as such feel it necessary to address the one criticism that keeps getting thrown TNA Wrestling’s way (well at least from WWE marks anyway!) when it comes to these viewing figures – that TNA iMPACT! is broadcast on Challenge TV, a freeview channel whereas WWE is broadcast on Sky Sports which is a premium/subscription service.

Whilst the above statement is true to an extent, is that really the only reason why TNA is consistantly pummeling WWE programming in the ratings? It would be extremely close minded and unfair to all involved to put it down to just that. In fact TNA was outdrawing WWE long before it was on Freeview, our ratings analysis archive will attest to that.

Freeview vs. Premium
The fact remains more people sat on their sofa and flicked the channel to Challenge tv on Tuesday night than did WWE on Monday night, and if that trend continues WWE ought to be concerned, TNA’s product is gaining massive exposure right now in the UK and WWE’s not exactly giving viewers much reason to switch the channel back to their product which pales in comparison.

The channel it was broadcast on is irrelevant, the fact that TNA landed an arguably better Television deal is something they should be praised for surely? If WWE were so concerned with this ratings trend, shouldn’t they be looking to move away from a premium broadcaster and open their product to a wider audience?

And let’s just pause for a moment and ask the question that no-one else is – Is Challenge a better broadcaster to be on than Sky Sports? The fact thats its on the freeview epg dosen’t actually give TNA an immediate advantage, in fact Sky Sports is a much more well known channel, not to mention an established destination for wrestling programming.

And if we examine the Broadcasters Audience Research Boards weekly reach figures (That is “the number of viewers who watched the channel for at least three minutes in a given week”.), Sky Sports channels are drawing over 6 million viewers (6,102,000) whereas Challenge draws just over 4 Million (4,159,000).

Couple that with the fact that TNA programming is rarely, if ever, advertised by Challenge/Sky and iMPACT! has relied almost entirely on promotion from sites like mine and social media such as twitter and facebook and it’s plain to see that this has very little in fact to do with the channel and lot to do with the fact that TNA is now providing weekly programming and monthly specials featuring wrestlings biggest names aswell as the stars of the future and overall a superior and fan engaging product.

TNA constantly make mention of how great TNA fans are here in the UK and how grateful they are at just how excited we are about the product, but it should be remembered that WCW was available on terrestrial tv in the past, and even at its height it never beat the WWE ratings wise.

TNA’s success is not just down to a rabid wrestling fanbase here in the UK, it’s not just down to Challenge being on freeview and it’s not just down to it’s successful European tours but it’s also thanks to the superbly talented individuals on the roster and the hardworking folks behind the scenes at TNA that make tuning in every week an easy choice.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy TNA Tuesday tonight folks!

– Ray Mullan

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About Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan is a longtime wrestling fan and Owner/Editor of TNA UK . Also a contributing writer to a number of other online wrestling media including 1Wrestling.com, Wrestle Zone UK & Lords of Pain.

4 Responses to TNA vs. WWE – UK Wrestling Ratings War: The Facts

  1. Terrence says:

    Well said Ray! Sky didn’t want TNA due to their existing contract with WWE, but thanks to alot of badgering from the fans they finally took notice, but they till bunged it on a gameshow channel out the way and wouldn’t you now they now have to sit up and take notice as TNA outdraws WWE every week!

    I watch TNA because i like TNA, dosen’t matter what channel they put it on!

    • Ray Mullan says:

      Thanks for the kind words T. Thought it was time to give my view on the matter, i feel its grossly unfair to pin TNA’s success on “being on challenge” and completely ignore the contributions of the likes of Jeremy Borash, Dixie Carter and Si Rothstein who have worked hard to build the TNA brand here in the UK, not to mention the TNA talents who bust their asses every week for our entertainment.

  2. R-Truth says:

    That’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothin’ but the truth!

  3. James Jolley says:

    Hi Ray,

    Really good article. As a blind person watching the show, I must say that I actually do prefer TNA for the commentary team. They seem to bring more energy to matches and the promos in TNA are something else entirely.

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