After weeks of lower but steady viewership in 2012, TNA's flagship show, Impact! Wrestling, opened the new year on a surging note.
With the return of Sting, the Thursday, Jan. 3 edition of Impact! Wrestling saw an impressive boost in viewership (via TV By the Numbers).
On Thursday night, Impact! Wrestling landed 1.62 million viewers. This was up from last week's viewership, which had 1.33 million viewers. In adults 18-49, Impact! Wrestling scored a 0.5 rating, up from last week's 0.4 mark.
Meanwhile, college football's Fiesta Bowl game helped ESPN land the No. 1 spot on cable television Thursday night. The Fiesta Bowl had 12.3 million viewers and scored a 4.0 rating in adults 18-49.
My Quick Take on Impact! Wrestling's Strong Start in 2013
Since the conclusion of NFL Thursday Night Football, TNA has seen its viewership rise over the past two weeks. Finally, Impact! Wrestling has some room to grow its product. Despite strong viewership with the Fiesta Bowl game on ESPN, Impact! Wrestling performed very well.
TNA did a good job building the return of Sting. Although Sting's comeback could have been executed much better on the part of TNA, Impact! Wrestling was able to benefit from his return. TNA has all the abilities to get off to a fast start in 2013. The Thursday, Jan. 3 edition of Impact! Wrestling was a pleasant surprise, given TNA's lower but consistent viewership.
It will remain interesting to see what TNA will do in 2013. TNA going live with Impact! Wrestling has helped the show improve in many ways compared to a taped environment. The company should remain on its current course and continue producing live programming for viewers.
Another aspect that TNA should seriously consider is moving away from the Impact! Zone to larger venues to produce their television product. This could generate much positive hype about TNA's direction.
A major question remains for TNA. Can Impact! Wrestling continue to grow its viewership numbers?