The World Heavyweight Championship tournament and the return of Roman Reigns led to an increase in Friday Night SmackDown.
Despite stronger viewership this week for the NBA and NHL playoffs, SmackDown increased its audience by four percent and its key demo audience by eight percent.
The numbers were above last week’s figures but below the prior week on April 28, which was the draft episode.
While SmackDown avoided the gigantic game between the L.A. Lakers and Golden State Warriors, it still faced stiff competition from the New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat (5.44 million viewers and 1.83 in the demo), and the Florida Panthers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (1.36 million and 0.39). Viewership for the NBA game was eight percent higher this week and 12 percent higher for the NHL compared with last week’s games.
SmackDown ranked first among network programs and fifth overall for the night behind ESPN’s coverage of the NBA including the two games.
In Canada, SmackDown averaged 130,600 viewers and 71,600 in the 25-54 demographic on Sportsnet 360, which were down 20.5 and 19 percent respectively. It is not that bad of a drop when you consider that SmackDown aired against the Panthers vs. Maple Leafs, which averaged just under 3.8 million viewers for Game 5. The show also aired against the Toronto Blue Jays vs. Atlanta Braves with SmackDown ranking #10 among sports programs on Friday in the country.