Explaining Warner Bros. Discovery’s claim that AEW brings in 4 million viewers on Wednesdays despite Dynamite averaging 960,000 viewers in 2022

We asked Warner Bros. Discovery about the comment by executive Jason Sarlanis, from Wednesday’s press release announcing AEW All Access, where he said AEW’s fan base “brings in more than 4 million viewers to TBS every Wednesday night”.

The comment was surprising because AEW Dynamite’s audience on TBS is commonly measured to be about one-quarter of that number, averaging 960,000 viewers in 2022, according to Wrestlenomics data.

We’re told by WBD that the 4 million measurement refers to the number of viewers who watched at least one minute of TBS on Wednesday from 7 pm to 12 am, each week on average in 2022.

A WBD spokesperson told Wrestlenomics: "[W]e attribute most of that success to AEW Dynamite."

Sarlanis, who is the president of Turner Networks, ID, and HLN, said in the press release that “AEW has such an amazingly loyal and dedicated fan base that brings in more than 4 million viewers to TBS every Wednesday night.”

Dynamite airs from 8 pm to 10 pm on Wednesdays. The 4 million figure would therefore include non-AEW programming from 7 pm to 8 pm and 10 pm to 12 am, meaning the count includes viewership from The Big Bang Theory, among the best-performing reruns on cable, in the hour before Dynamite. It would include programming airing after Dynamite in 2022 also, which was often other rerun shows like Young Sheldon.

Dynamite’s 960,000 viewer average for last year, as well as the typical ratings data reported by outlets like Wrestlenomics and Showbuzz Daily, are minute-by-minute averages throughout the duration of the program. Those numbers reflect the count of viewers who watched live or same-day, as opposed to reflecting the unique count of viewers who watched for at least one minute. It’s unclear if WBD’s 4 million number includes DVR viewership through the seven days after the air date, which would help bring the total higher.

In the newest Wrestlenomics 30 podcast for subscribers, we had a breakdown of how many unique viewers on average, for at least one minute, watched each major WWE and AEW program in 2023 year-to-date.

We learned that, according to Nielsen data, so far this year, Dynamite averages 2.9 million unique viewers who watch at least one minute of the show within seven days of airing.

For comparison, WWE’s Monday Night Raw on USA Network averages 4.8 million by that methodology. For AEW Rampage on TNT, the number is 1.3 million. For WWE Smackdown on Fox, 6.9 million. And for WWE NXT on USA Network, 2.0 million.

It’s notable that with a threshold as low as one minute, this methodology could be counting many viewers who accidentally tune into a program before quickly tuning out.

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