Dave Meltzer Analyzes AEW's Ongoing Media Rights Negotiations

With AEW's current media rights deal set to expire early next year, and the exclusive negotiating period between AEW and Warner Bros Discovery about to end, the promotion's next TV deal has been a hot topic of conversation in recent weeks. Earlier this week, a report emerged stating that Tony Khan was "disappointed" with the current offer on the table from WBD, though that was later disputed by AEW sources.


Following up in today's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer went in-depth on the topic, including a hint at the current figure being offered by WBD. Referring to the report from earlier this week, Meltzer stated that he wouldn't consider the current dollar amount "disappointing," as it is believed to be higher than the previously-estimated $110 million per year. However, AEW has yet to accept the offer, indicating that think they can do better.

If these estimates are even close to true, Meltzer believes AEW will become profitable for the first time once the deal is signed. Additionally, while the writer confirmed that all three AEW shows and streaming rights are up for grabs, it does not seem likely that the company's PPVs will move to a subscription service. Until the contract is signed, however, everything is still up in the air.


WWE's Potential Effect On AEW's Next Media Rights Deal

There is another element that could complicate things for AEW: the UFC. With the MMA promotion's media rights deal with ESPN set to expire next year, Meltzer noted that WBD has been one of the names frequently tossed around as an interested party. Depending on how serious WBD's interest is, UFC's close ties to WWE could impact AEW's next offer, though there's nothing officially stating WBD couldn't land both.


Additionally, with WWE signing a global deal with Netflix, many TV networks around the world will soon be without any wrestling content. AEW may benefit from this absence, though Meltzer spoke to someone with international television experience who said the industry is in an uncertain time. In the past, networks haven't been interested in wrestling outside of WWE, and the source believes WBD will wind up with both domestic and international rights for AEW's programming.

One way or the other, Meltzer believes the next media rights deal is going to be a defining moment for AEW, determining if the promotion is considered a "major success" after five years. The reporter quoted an anonymous source within AEW who was optimistic about the deal, having heard it would be a strong positive for the company, with an agreement believed to be reached soon.