WWE's largest fan-base out of US - India

India is land where people loves wrestling. Whether it is "Akhada" or WWE, Indian fans never tend to dissapoint. WWe's largest viwership out of US comes from WWE with over 50 Million viwers.

Triple H doing bhangra during a live event [Image-Twitter]
By Blesson Daniel | Oct 30, 2022 | 6 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

WWE will continue to rank second in India behind cricket in terms of television viewership numbers. The WWE broadcast has retained the SPNI Sports channels in the top five sports genre rankings in the Broadcast Audience Research Council television ratings when there isn’t much cricket on Sony Sports Cluster screens.

The combat sport organization is attempting to expand its business in India. The management plans to make a significant push in the fiercely competitive market as the WWE broadcast rights in the Indian area are up for renewal. The rights that each broadcaster will be most interested in are WWE and cricket. Sony Pictures Network India, which is currently in charge, wants to keep it at any costs.

The first-ever WWE try-outs in India were held in Mumbai between March 2 and March 5, 2019, as part of World Wrestling Entertainment’s aim to interact further with its India fan base. Male and female athletes with experience in kushti, kabaddi, wrestling, basketball, combat sports, cricket, and bodybuilding from Mumbai, Delhi, Gwalior, Chandigarh, and Rohtak, among other cities across the nation, participated in large numbers at the tryouts in the hope of being chosen to join the WWE network.

This was also the largest try-out in WWE history, with 80 possible contenders from India, 20 of them were women. With 386 million unique TV viewers each year, India—where WWE has been present for 25 years—is the company’s largest market outside of the US in terms of its fan base.

The number one market in the globe for WWE in terms of Facebook and YouTube viewers is India, despite the fact that digital engagement overall has increased in 2018, with video views rising by 57% to 31.4 billion and hours consumed by users rising by 77% to 1.2 billion.

India is one of the most important market for WWE

John Brody, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Head of International, WWE, discussed the significance of the Indian market as follows: “WWE does 550 live events per year in 70 international cities, in 25 different languages. I am proud that the largest tryout in WWE history took place in Mumbai to an audience and fans that has been so passionate for WWE for so long. While we currently have nine members of Indian descent as part of the WWE network, the tryouts are an attempt to increase that number, while helping more men and women to realize their dream of becoming WWE superstars.”

WWE now has an exclusive deal with Sony that includes the screening of its shows on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3, and Sony Max, which receives about 90 million weekly viewers. The programs may also be found on Sony’s OTT service SonyLIV. In addition, it communicates with fans via social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and WhatsApp as well as live events hosted quarterly in India, superstar mall visits, and talent tours like the WWE tryouts.

WWE have huge advertising partners from India

Sony has a number of companies on board for their WWE programming, including Unilever, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, Coverfox, and Denver, among others, in terms of advertising and marketing. “Sony is a tremendous marketing partner for us. They have invested heavily over the years to diversify and to provide more opportunity for fans. What we find is our content ecosystem is so rich that there are many ways for us to interact with fans. So, we rely on those as a primary component to how we connect with fans because we are on every week, 52 weeks a year with no off-season, no off-day, unlike other sports,” remarks Sheetesh Srivastava, WWE VP and General Manager, South Asia.

Future plans for WWE’s localization strategy in India include the development of more indigenous talent, an increase in the number of regional languages used for its productions, the creation of more localized shows, and collaboration with its social media team to produce more regional content in order to reach a larger audience. “We are constantly looking to innovate and rethink in order to be a part of what is ahead. Given this, Brody says, “our immediate priorities are more fan engagement, rising consumption, and sustainable development, with the long-term objective of fostering a closer relationship with the WWE universe in India.

READ MORE: Triple H wants to bring back another former WWE star

During WrestleMania 38, India attained milestone viewership of 56 million

According to WWE’s Quarterly Report for the First Quarter of 2022, 56 million Indians watched WrestleMania this year, breaking a record. WrestleMania 38’s two-night event was eagerly anticipated by fans all around the world.

Stone Cold Steve Austin made his in-ring comeback against Kevin Owens on Night One of The Show of Shows, over 19 years after his last appearance. Roman Reigns made history on the second night of the event when he defeated Brock Lesnar to win the first-ever Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

In a news statement, WWE said that the first quarter of the year saw a record amount of revenue generated—$333.4 million—for the business. This figure increased 27% over the previous quarter.

President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan noted during the 2022 Q1 Earnings call that India had an astounding total of over 56 million viewers for The Show of Shows: “As we all heard in Comcast Earnings report last week, Peacock increased it’s paid subs by 40% in Q1 alone. As Peacock continues to grow its user base and in turn, those users continue to sample WWE content, we are confident these viewership numbers will only continue to grow. Our viewership records were not limited to the United States, a staggering 56 million viewers watched WrestleMania in India through Sony Sports Network. The number showcases are incredible reach in the region in total we saw 54% global viewership increase over 2021.”

Average Viewership in India

In India, RAW had an average of more than 4 million viewers in January 2021. In the first month of the new year, SmackDown managed to get 3 million viewers and NXT also managed to bring in little over a million. Both RAW and SmackDown averaged more than 1 million viewers from South Africa. RAW and SmackDown had an average of about 300,000 viewers apiece from Canada, Germany, and Italy.

In January 2021, RAW averaged more than 4 million viewers in India. SmackDown attracted 3 million viewers in the first month of the year, and NXT attracted little over a million. Over 1 million people watched RAW and SmackDown on average in South Africa. There were around 300,000 viewers from Canada, Germany, and Italy for each of RAW and SmackDown on average.

In January 2021, WWE was able to attract 5.9 million viewers on average from India, Canada, Germany, South Africa, and Italy for RAW. SmackDown attracted about 5.2 million views, which also covers the South Korean market.

These statistics still don’t tell the whole situation because so many markets and nations are still unaccounted for. WWE broadcasts a wide range of shows in Latin America, the UK, China, Japan, and many more countries.

In the US, SmackDown has continued to grow steadily in 2021 and has remained above the two-million mark. Since the Red brand was able to pull in about 1.85 million viewers in January 2021, RAW authorities haven’t had as much luck.

Importance of Indian fans for WWE

In India, one of the most popular sports, WWE has a sizable following base. The data demonstrates how passionate Indians are about WWE. More than 50 million people watched Wrestlemania 38, which occurred in April. The weekly shows have been broadcasted live across the nation for many years, and they attract a large audience.

Among the famous wrestlers in India are The Rock, Stone Cold, The Undertaker, Triple H, and John Cena. WWE has traveled to India on multiple occasions, and superstars have entertained the Indian WWE Universe.

For WWE in instance if Indian audience stops watching WWE live, there will be a large drop in their shares and they may have to face a very huge loss.

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