Eric Bischoff Weighs In On Tony Khan's Comments About AEW TV Rights

In his pre-Revolution media call, AEW President and CEO Tony Khan spoke of a new media rights deal for the company in exceptionally glowing fashion, stating in part that he believes there will be a big bump in store for all three of its television properties, making the company profitable, then, for decades thereafter. Eric Bischoff's take on that claim is that a deal is already done, or that Khan is out to lunch and shouldn't be speaking about such a thing publicly.


On "83 Weeks," co-host Conrad Thompson referenced Khan's comments, quoting him precisely as saying that "AEW Dynamite," "AEW Rampage," and "AEW Collision" would "get huge increases for sure," while citing a note from Dave Meltzer that said Khan and AEW are still under an exclusive clause by which, at this time, they can still only negotiate with Warner Brothers Discovery. From there, Thompson asked for Bischoff's take."Sounds to me like the deal has already been negotiated," said the former WCW boss. "I mean, if that's the case, I'm sure we'll be seeing that AEW will have real high-profile visibility during the cable upfronts."

In the television world, upfronts are held as vital sales periods are about to begin, attended by advertisers and media so that the cable companies can tout their projected big hits and potential sponsors can lock in their ad time up front, well before the actual new seasons begin. In a word, these gatherings are highly important for all key players, so speaking so confidently of a product ahead of time carries some risk.


The proof is in the upfronts

Bischoff, of course, remains skeptical that any deal for AEW is already in place, and sees Khan's comments as being indicative of one of two staunchly different realities. "If Tony Khan is convinced," he reasoned, "and is absolutely sure of it that all three shows are gonna get a significant bump, he knows something that we all don't know and we'll be seeing them at the cable upfronts." On the flipside, Bischoff, offered, "Or Tony's delusional and is out there hyping something that he shouldn't be hyping, making comments in public about a negotiation that should be [confidential]."


While skeptical (as he tends to be with AEW in recent times), Bischoff was keeping the door open that Khan may already, in fact, have such an ace up his sleeve, saying, "He may be right. If that's the case, congratulations. We'll find out." By leaning on his own experience as a producer in the television industry, however, he expressed a lack of benefit to Khan's potentially premature proclamation unless something was actually already done, as well as the public ever learning any specific numbers, as it would be a bit of a tell for competing programming, agents, advertisers, et al.

"We'll only know those numbers if [WBD] wants the public to know them," Bischoff explained. "I can't imagine that there would be an upside to that. I don't think that Tony Khan or anyone in AEW would be out there publicizing it if there wasn't some provisions within their agreement that they only do so if they're permitted to do so by Warner Brothers Discovery, which would normally be the case."


If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.