NBA and WWE both have their distinct audience—they both are loved by different groups. While one is a competitive sport, other is sports entertainment. NBA’s season final has massive draw, while WWE’s PPVs like Summer Slam, Royal Rumble and, of course, Wrestlemania blows off the records every year. So again, both are widely popular across the world.
If we compare their ratings head to head, there’s a host of factors that we need to consider. Like NBA’s big matches will draw more audience no matter what. On the other hand, WWE’s special events (PPVs), big appearances and well-built matches will attract more number of viewers.
Last NBA Finals Game 2016 drew 30.8 million viewers, while WM33 too broke plenty of records, in terms of attendance, revenue and on the digital space. And mind you, WWE has its own network, which gives them an edge.
Also, if you’re going to see things on the global scene, mainstream wrestling is more popular than basketball, especially in developing countries.So yes, vague and disappointing this answer may sound, both are very popular – to an extent of obsession, in fact – in their respective niches. The likes of John Cena and LeBron James are household names. And Shaquille O’Neal, his match against Big Show almost happened this year.