Raw 2016 vs. 2012 TV Ratings – Comparison of Rio & London Olympics Effect in Three-Hour Raw Era

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


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WWE Raw’s TV Ratings in Summer 2016 compared to Summer 2012 during the previous Olympics tells a few interesting stories.

The biggest item that pops off the page is a flashback to when Raw regularly drew 4.0 million viewers per episode. This week’s Raw fell below 3.0 million viewers against the first Monday of the Olympics.

Also, Raw’s hourly pattern was the smallest audience in the first hour, then a battle for the largest audience in the second and third hours since the audience was not used to the earlier start time of 8:00 p.m. EST.

Now, the trend is usually the largest audience in the middle of the show and the smallest audience at the end. This is captured by Raw’s third hour declining from the second hour 21 straight weeks.

– In July 2012, Raw made the official switch to three-hour Raws beginning with the special “Raw 1,000” episode on July 23, 2012.

The following week, Raw was up against the first Monday of the London Olympics on July 30, 2012.

There was a natural drop-off in TV ratings and viewership following the big “Raw 1,000” episode against the first two Mondays of the Olympics. But, the biggest drop-off was the week after the 2012 Olympics concluded and before the 2012 Summerslam PPV.

2012 Raw TV Ratings Trend

  • July 23: 3.84 TV rating / 6.019 million viewers for Raw 1,000
  • July 30: 3.08 TV rating / 4.494 million viewers post-Raw 1,000 vs. Olympics
  • Aug. 6: 3.08 TV rating / 4.367 million viewers vs. Olympics
  • Aug. 13: 2.84 TV rating / 4.133 million viewers pre-Summerslam (no Olympics)
  • Aug. 20: 3.14 TV rating / 4.478 million viewers post-Summerslam

This year, the Summer Raw episodes are on a different schedule against the Rio Olympics, which started later this time around.

The pre-Summerslam episode next Monday (August 15) will be against the Olympics, creating a double whammy since the audience has been conditioned to view pre-PPV Raws as typically skippable.

The summer Raws also follow a major shift for Raw. In 2012, it was the implementation of three-hour Raws just before the Olympics started. Four years later, WWE re-created the Brand Split just before the Olympics started.

2016 Raw TV Ratings Trend

  • July 18: 2.22 TV rating / 3.133 million viewers pre-Draft
  • July 25: 2.36 TV rating / 3.338 million viewers post-Draft
  • Aug. 1: 2.30 TV rating / 3.314 million viewers (audience up with DVR)
  • Aug. 8: 2.05 TV rating / 2.911 million viewers vs. Olympics Week 1
  • Aug. 15: ??? vs. Olympics Week 2 pre-Summerslam
  • Aug. 22: ??? for post-Summerslam Raw with no Olympics

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