As of Bound for Glory it was widely reported that the current working relationship between AEW and Impact had ended.
The relationship officially on air started as of the ending of Winters coming on December 2nd, 2020 and ran till October 23rd 2021 which was 325 days.
A constant critic of the relationship was that it wasn’t doing anything for Impact. So, let’s look at the numbers and see did this relationship work out.
Let’s first let’s look at the ratings for this period. Firstly, from AXS TV. (We will get to their Twitch streaming numbers soon).
First episode was December 8th 2020 and gave us a rating of 221,000 this was the highest rating for Impact since September 22nd with 200,000. The week before on December 01 2020 Impact had a rating of 166,000. The week after on December 15th the rating was 177,000. The next highest rating for our time period of the relationship was 197,000 on February 16th 2021. The lowest for this period was 69,000 on July 1st. Below is a graph for week-to-week numbers during this period.
Lets compare this to the period before the relationship began, from January 7th 2020 to December 1st 2020, before the Winters Coming episode.
During this period the highest rating was 200,000 which was on both September 22nd 2021 and January 7th 2020. We can see from both graphs that before the AEW partnership Impact regularly hit over 150,000.
So if we base the conversation solely on this data then you could say that the relationship didn’t do much for Impact. However, this is not the only data we can use to measure the relationship.
Let’s have a look at the Twitch first - https://socialblade.com/twitch/user/impactwrestling
This is actually a hard thing to gain, this is because they stream daily nearly 24/7. But we can see from the above link there has been growth and high numbers on Twitch but then it died down, largely because Impact decided to no longer stream their live shows.
The high point was the first episode with Kenny. The episode scored a whopping 50,686 peak viewers, which is comfortably the highest total in company history. This is also a colossal leap up from the Twitch stream's weekly average of approximately 2,000.
From the data available to us we know that Impact on Twitch was averaging around 2,000-4,000 viewers. But with the AEW partnership that number grew to 40,000 and continued to be higher than what they were doing. So the partnership with AEW certainly helped Impact on Twitch.
Next we are going to look at the Google trends for the Impact Wrestling search term This is for the period of 8th November 2020 to 10th October 2021.
As we can see it’s kind of all over the place and we can see it’s pretty up and down, so lets look at a 4 year period from 13th may 2018 to 30th October 2021 to see if we can get a better picture.
Now this is a lot more telling, we can see that Impact was getting very large spikes, but it was down before the AEW partnership. However, it’s still inconsistent and does show growth around PPV time but no more then what they were getting – This one shows no real change in numbers.
Let’s now move to Twitter, again it’s hard to find solid data but thanks to speakrj.com and socialblade.com I was able to find these charts.
The graphs show a massive increase in twitter engagement, followers etc, so it’s very safe to say that the relationship helped with Impacts twitter engagement and online interest.
Let’s have a look at YouTube Views for Impact.
It started out hot with the first recap clip getting 227,000 views and the full show which was uploaded getting 385,000. The next Kenny clip got 421,000 views, the closest from a different clip from the rest of that episode was 96,000.
Then in the clip called Family Reunion it dropped to 228,000, the next closest on that show was 105,000. The clip called Reunion got 371,000 and the next closest for that show was 129,000 (which funny enough was an AEW paid add).
I’m going to skip to Hard to Kill aftermath which got a very nice 590,000 views, with the next highest on that show was 308,000 and was for Matt Hardy and Private Party.
Next I’ll skip to where Kenny challenged for the Impact title. This got 186,000 and the second highest on the show was the confirmation which got 148,000
The average Impact (Non-AEW) video was between 30,000 and 60,000 with a few hitting 90,000. Kenny Omega being on Impact got move views for his segments. However, from around May/June the average of the Impact video views raised to 50,000 – 60,000 with more segments getting higher views and regularly hitting higher. This does show that the popularity of the show and the non-Kenny stuff did increase over time with more eyes on the product, especially digitally.
Lastly, I did really try to find some information on the Impact PPV buys but I couldn’t find anything that was official or solid. So, I can’t give enough information, there are multiple stories saying Impact did the highest PPV buys when Kenny was there, but I can’t 100% confirm them all or compare to others. But the consensus is that buy rates were up in this time.
So, we having reviewed all of that we can see that the AEW-IMPACT relationship did benefit IMPACT.
It helped increase the YouTube numbers, Twitter engagement and Twitch engagement. It did help with ratings and Google trends but not as strongly as the more digital side.