Does wrestling need an off-season? Eric Bischoff doesn't think so.
During the latest episode of his 83 Weeks podcast (via AdFreeShows), the WWE Hall of Famer spoke about the low ratings garnered by SmackDown and IMPACT heading into the 4th of July weekend and explained that summertime dropoffs are to be expected and happen every year. He then shared his belief as to why wrestling has worked so consistently on television and how an off-season would do more harm than good.
"First of all, I wouldn't vote for an offseason," Bischoff said. "One of the reasons that wrestling works as consistently as it has since the beginning of television time is because it's 52 weeks a year and it tours. If you take 52 weeks out of the equation and now you take touring out of the equation, you're going to lose 60% of your audience over the course of five or six years."
Although time off may help keep wrestlers and storylines fresher, Bischoff argues that an extended absence would sever the deep connection that the performers have built with the fans. He added the following:
"Yeah, but you lose your connection to the audience. Wrestling, and here's the mistake that a lot of television executives make, is they don't understand the audience. The wrestling audience becomes so familiar with these characters. They identify with them. They live vicariously through them. They're kind of, in their own entertainment way, addicted to them. If you take them off the air for three, four, or five months, they find other shit to do and other things to be interested in. The secret sauce to professional wrestling is that it's 52 weeks a year. If you go down to 26 and you have to start your season over again and you've lost that daily, weekly connection to your audience, and six months later you're going to come back with a new season, good freaking luck."
Bischoff sees COVID restrictions lifting as an additional reason for people not wanting to stay in on Friday nights, and also shared that April was usually the time he would start seeing dips in the weekly numbers.
For a full breakdown of viewership numbers from various wrestling programs, check out Fightful's resources page.
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