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WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Date Won't Change For NFL

The Royal Rumble will go up against a huge NFL game.

WWE have decided that the Royal Rumble 2016 will take place on January 24 in Orlando, running the same day as the AFC/NFC Title games in the NFL. The NFC Title game is scheduled to start at 6:40pmET on January 24 while the Rumble would start at 8pmET, unless they make it a four hour show. It's newsworthy because normally WWE would schedule the Rumble on the Sunday in-between the AFC/NFC Title when the NFL game is the Pro Bowl, which is just a meaningless exhibition game.
A big reason why it's smart to schedule the Rumble in the week where there are no NFL playoff games is because last year's NFC Title game had an audience of 49.8 million viewers, that peaked to as high as 57 million viewers. The AFC title game, which had the primetime start earlier this year, had about 42 million viewers because it wasn't a close game. The AFC/NFC Title games are typically the second and third most watched shows on American TV after the Super Bowl, which gets over 100 million viewers. There was a thought that WWE might move the date, but the NBA schedule recently came out and the Orlando Magic have a home game on January 31, which means WWE likely won't be able to move the Rumble one week later, unless they choose to leave Orlando.
It was noted by Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE may feel that it's not an issue because of the on-demand viewing possibilities of WWE Network. WWE could feel that they already have the money from the consumer, but it would hurt in terms of getting new subscribers. While Meltzer noted that the Beast of the East show wasn't hurt with an early start time, the Royal Rumble has a lot of history and it seems like a bad night to have that PPV. For some WWE fans it won't matter if they have no interest in the NFL. For others that like both products, they might choose the football game live and that could hurt WWE's audience for the Royal Rumble.
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John wrote at WhatCulture from December 2013 to December 2015. It was fun, but it's over for now. Follow him on Twitter @johnreport. You can also send an email to mrjohncanton@gmail.com with any questions or comments as well.