Dave Meltzer Forecasts AEW's Prospects During WBD/NBA Negotiations

While not certain yet, it's looking increasingly like Warner Bros Discovery will lose rights to air NBA games on TNT following the 2024-2025 season in a move that would have far-reaching ramifications across the television landscape. One of the parties affected would be AEW, though it's not yet clear whether WBD losing a key piece of programming could end up working in the wrestling promotion's favor.


Writing in today's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer offered his analysis of the situation. While negotiations are still ongoing for the next NBA rights term, with three different packages being bid on, Meltzer does not believe WBD CEO David Zaslav will spend the money necessary to retain its current NBA package.

"In theory it's better for AEW that TNT loses the NBA, because while revenue would decline, the NBA package is a net loss, meaning they'd in theory both have more money to spend and also have more need for programming," Meltzer wrote. "However, the key part of the AEW package is 'Dynamite,' and that's on TBS, which is largely not affected either way on this."

Additionally, Meltzer sourced an individual with ties to both wrestling and TV networks who stated that WBD losing its NBA games will almost certainly mean the company gets paid less by cable and streaming companies who carry their networks. This means WBD's television budget could drop dramatically, causing the company to focus on landing properties that could draw bigger ratings, such as college football or the UFC.


AEW is currently approaching the end of its media rights deal with WBD, as recently confirmed by CEO Tony Khan. The two companies are still in an exclusive negotiating phase, but Khan and AEW will soon have the ability to speak with other media companies and hear out offers to take the promotion's TV shows elsewhere.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Wrestling Observer Newsletter with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.