Professional Wrestling Fan Demographics
The demographic profile of professional wrestling fans in the United States is presented below using data from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) fans as proxy. Approximately eleven million fans watch WWE each week in the United State. As reported in WWE's 2019 Investor Presentation, it is estimated that 159 million broadband homes are home to at least one fan of WWE, which has over 980 million global followers in all social media combined.
- In its Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ) page, WWE claims 17% of its viewers are under the age of 18.
- A complete viewers age demographics was provided in WWE Investor Presentation 2015, where viewers were divided in age ranges of 2-17 (18%), 18-34 (23%), 35-49 (21%), and 50+ (38%).
- On the WWE's corporate web page, 40% of its viewers are said to be female. Conversely, 60% of the viewers would be male.
- In the 2013 SportsBusiness Journal, which cited a Scarborough survey of 200,000 US residents, 65.6% of WWE fans are high school graduate or less, 34.4% had any college, 10.4% are college graduate, and only 3.2% have post-graduate degree.
- In the US, the WWE fan base breaks down as 44.5% are White/Caucasians, 20.4% are Hispanic/Spanish, 26.0% are Black/African-American, 2.0% are Asian, and other ethnicities make up 7.1%, according to the Scarborough survey.
- Half of the WWE audience earns less than $50,000 per year in income, according to another Scarborough survey cited in a 2018 paper about professional wrestling.
To provide a comprehensive demographic profile of professional wrestling fans in the United States, we initiated our research by directly searching for pre-compiled statistics and data in the public domain. Unfortunately, we did not find any credible sources of information about the demographics of professional wrestling fans in the US. What we found with this strategy were news about the leading organizations in professional wrestling such as WWE and AEW (All Elite Wrestling).
Figuring that we could find fans statistics from the two leading organizations and use them to triangulate the professional wrestling fan demographics as a whole, we shifted our search to data specific to the fans of WWE and AEW in the public domain. However, we did not find much information about AEW, presumably because the organization is relatively new to the industry. On the other hand, WWE, being the leader of the industry relatively longer, had more articles and statistics available in the web. Thus, we decided to focus our search on WWE and use its data as a proxy for the whole professional wrestling industry.
While WWE was mentioned in several news articles, there were no credible sources of information about its fan demographics. So, we searched statistics-providing websites like Statista, where we found related statistics but irrelevant to our goals. Luckily, our scouring of WWE's corporate website proved to be more fruitful. In its FAQ page, we found partial data for age distribution of fans. Specifically, only the range of ages below 18 was presented. For the gender distribution, only the female sector was provided, but it was enough to compute for the male share, not considering LGBTQIA+.
We inspected the documents from the Investor page of WWE as well. The Investor Presentations from 2016 to 2019 issues contained bits of information about fan demographics, but the latest document to provide complete fans age distribution was the 2015 issue. Unfortunately, fan demographics regarding education level, race, and income level were not provided in the documents from WWE website.
Determined to present at least helpful insights about professional wrestling fan demographics, we expanded our scope to include data outside our 2-year limit and searched sports journal websites for relevant articles. From here, we were able to find comprehensive fan demographics of not only WWE but also fighting sports like UFC and boxing.
While the demographics we found in the SportsBusiness Journal included fan distribution by age, gender, educational level, and ethnicity, the distribution of WWE fans as per their income level were found from searching scholarly articles about professional wrestling.