With 2018 now in the rear-view mirror, television networks can look back and assess how their viewership performed compared to the previous year.
It's no secret that many are cord-cutting and that manifests itself in TV viewership. Yahoo posted a list of the top 130 networks of 2018 and just 30 of them increased viewership, meaning 100 networks lost viewers. These figures are based on the average primetime viewing and only include ad-supported networks.
Of particular interest to wrestling fans is how the viewership of the networks which broadcast wrestling programs performed. USA Network, which has been home to WWE, for the most part, for over 35 years finished eighth among all networks and fourth among cable channels. USA had an average of 1.52 million viewers which was a nine percent decrease from the previous year.
Impact Wrestling has been on many networks during its 15 year run, but it was on Pop TV for 2018 and Pop came in as the 83rd most-watched network. The network averaged 157,000 viewers which was a drop from last year's average of 175,000. It's worth mentioning that Pursuit Channel, which is taking over Impact Wrestling broadcasts next week, did not make the list and is available in about two-thirds of the households of Pop TV's availability.
Lucha Underground has been broadcast on El Rey Network since 2014 which was also the same year El Rey was picked up by any satellite service. That network tied for 116th place and averaged 49,000 viewers. El Rey also had a nine percent drop in viewership from last year's 54,000 average.
The final TV network that regularly broadcasts wrestling to make the list was beIN Sports which picked up Major League Wrestling: FUSION last April. beIN came in at 129th (out of 130) networks and just beat out Comedy TV (not to be confused with Comedy Central). beIN Sports averaged just 7,000 viewers in 2018 which was a dramatic drop of 50 percent compared to 2017.
Again, these figures are the average primetime numbers for each network, not just the average wrestling viewership. In some cases, like WWE on USA, their programs actually exceed the average viewership for the network. So, without the presence of wrestling programs, the average network viewership would be even lower.