What We Learned: Net Promoter Score Survey on Wrestling Programming

Here I’ll share some analysis of the “Net Promoter Score” survey that was distributed from late December 2020 to early January 2021.

More than 500 valid responses were obtained through a Facebook ad in effort to obtain a more random sample than would be obtained through organic social media sharing of a survey.

A Net Promoter Score survey commonly asks respondents on a numbered scale how likely they would be to recommend a product to a friend. With those results, the percentage of high responses (in this case ‘5’) is subtracted from percentage of low responses (‘0’ to ‘3’).

Results were originally published in the Wrestlenomics Pro Wrestling Industry Report 2020, which you can get ($6) via Payhip or by becoming a patron ($5/monthly).

There are other interesting analyses to gather from the dataset beyond what was shown in the Industry Report.

For instance: What are the age demographics of viewers of each wrestling program?

Contrary to linear TV viewership, WWE and AEW appear more similar in age. In fact median age across all programs landed in early 40s, with Ring of Honor on the high end and NXT on the low end.

If we breakdown viewing habits by whether you watch “regularly” or “occasionally”, there’s some variance in median age, but it’s not dramatic.

My sense is this is more reflective of the actual fan’s age, as linear measurements skew old, simply because linear TV use skews old.

Still, among those who say they currently watch any wrestling program, the overwhelming majority say they have access to linear television.

Smackdown viewers were slightly less likely to have cable access, which makes sense since Fox can be reached with an OTA antenna.

Turning back to age: Younger AEW viewers were most likely to recommend the program to a friend. In fact, age group seems to be a better predictor of likelihood of recommendation than any particular program. The 50+ age group in general was less likely to recommend any program.

Women were more likely than men to say they would recommend WWE programs, and were more positive on Raw and Smackdown than AEW, which was the opposite for men. Differences were smaller for other programs, but generally men were more enthusiastic about AEW, ROH, and NJPW.

Hispanic/Latino fans were most enthusiastic about NXT. Black fans were slightly less likely to recommend AEW, That may be reflective of TV viewership data, which show AEW has a smaller percentage of African American viewers than WWE programs.

What’s the sentiment of viewers toward different programs? For example, are AEW and WWE fans as opposed in their tastes as they seem sometimes online?

Regular viewers of AEW were less likely to recommend WWE programs. But WWE viewers are positive on Dynamite.

The latter result may be skewed, though, since nearly as many respondents said they regularly watched Dynamite as those who said they watched Raw or Smackdown. That’s certainly not reflected in TV viewership. Raw and Smackdown each double or triple Dynamite in weekly viewers.

At least among this sample (which again, I went to some effort to try to get out of an echo chamber by reaching unacquainted respondents through paid advertising), the greatest enthusiasm was for AEW. Still, the majority of current WWE viewers were supportive of their shows too.

The fewest “promoters” (those who rated ‘5’) were among viewers of Impact and Ring of Honor. And while New Japan viewers were 43% “promoters”, there were more ‘0’ responses among those viewers than that of any other program.

I’m glad to have been able to put monetary support from our Wrestlenomics patrons to use to accomplish this research. I hope to repeat this survey periodically, so we can study how any of the results change over time.



Brandon Thurston has written about wrestling business since 2015. He’s also an independent wrestler and trainer. For more, see our About page.


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