The median age of professional wrestling television viewers has nearly doubled, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by Magna Global for SportsBusiness Journal, analyzed live, regular-season game coverage of major sports across both broadcast and cable television in 2000, 2006 and 2016.
Out of data from the 25 sports used in the study, professional wrestling saw the biggest increase in median age. Deadspin.com picked up on the study and highlighted quotes from Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, who believes the numbers are a bit high.
"The premise is accurate but current average sounds high, Raw & SD are still in 40s," Meltzer tweeted in response to the study.
While the average age may not be as high as the study suggests, it does reveal a problematic trend for WWE as they have featured more kid-friendly programming that is rated TV-PG for nearly a decade. As Deadspin astutely pointed out, many people that got into wrestling during WWE's "Attitude Era" in the late 1990s and early 2000s haven't left, but there hasn't been a crop of young fans to replace them.
Deadspin highlighted a 2013 study by Scarborough that showed the UFC is way ahead of WWE among young fans.
It's not all doom and gloom; however, as WWE has continued to successfully monetize their audience, even if it is smaller. By using the WWE Network, the company has provided hardcore fans more wrestling to watch than ever before. Many pundits believe hardcore professional wrestling fans will spend more money than any other audience in sports.
Dave Meltzer compared the business today to the more popular periods while speaking on the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling earlier this year.
When asked about wrestling's popularity today compared to the late 1980s and if wrestling is in a resurgence of popularity, he commented, "I once went to a hockey game with Ric Flair and this is 1989 and it is like this guy, you just have no idea how much this guy was mobbed and I would talk to people when [CM] Punk would go to hockey games and say "oh my God" they must mob him and they say well no they don't."
Meltzer continued, "But it is like the people who are wrestling fans have more wrestling to watch and are more into wrestling and I think that the hardcore wrestling fans are more into wrestling and will spend more money on wrestling than any fan base ever would before but there is not as many of them. Even if you go to the late 80s period there were way, way more wrestling fans but it is not like they are going to be spending $2,000 to go on their vacation to a wrestling show because they wouldn't do that. It was just a different era."
You can read the complete study by clicking this link.
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