With Double or Nothing in the rear view mirror, AEW can now turn its attention to its upcoming events and its TNT premiere later this year. But in this day and age, broadcasts go beyond just TV as there are also numerous streaming options.
Tony Khan joined Busted Open to discuss some of those options and AEW’s distribution strategy.
“We are going to be doing a live, weekly television show on TNT. It will debut prime this fall. We are also going to be distributing to a number of other top-wrestling markets,” said Khan. “I can’t exactly say where the TV is going to be and then as far as pay per view distribution, I thought that our partners were awesome for this show. Like I said, we had done a great show and we now have that under our belts. The folks at Bleacher Report Live were awesome. The cable and satellite carriers were in demand, working with all the cable carriers, DirectTV and Dish Network; that has been great. I really like the people at FiteTV and ITV Box Office did an amazing job at the show and I think we are really going to be happy when the numbers come in from England from the UK in general because of the support that we received from them was great and we really would like to be partners with them for a long time.
“I can’t say enough great things domestically here in the United States to have wrestling back on the Turner Network or with Warner Media with TNT. They are a wrestling network, for better or for worse. There have been a few channels that have been really successful in our lifetime broadcasting wrestling and TNT is absolutely one of them as much as anyone. I think it is really cool that they are back in business.”
There are numerous content providers out there to provide a streaming option for AEW going forward, but Khan says that’s not his primary focus right now.
“Bleacher Report Live did it for [Double or Nothing], for the over-the-top distribution. It is a little bit of putting it in the cart before the horse a little bit, streaming services and things in that nature. I think there will be a demand for it but right now for 2019 and going forward this year, two big things I am really focusing on is pay per views, which we have done with these traditional shows, and this primetime television product,” stated Khan.
In just about five months, AEW launched, had their inaugural event and landed a TV deal with a major network. He talked about why and how AEW got this far this fast.
“It’s all according to plan. Even last summer I had kind of the idea that this summer it was going to be like this,” revealed Khan. “The stuff we had laid out – I really wanted to do a Memorial Day show. I really wanted to do All Out, which is what we are going to do, something along the lines of what the guys were doing with All In, with the same fans and marketplace, but it’ll be our show and under our banner and with the same spirit of fans and excitement. We have done Double or Nothing, we are going to do All Out. One other show I am really excited about is Fight for the Fallen and all of these things are falling into place. We are doing Fight for the Fallen July 13th in Jacksonville, Florida.”
Khan then talked about wanting to do a show for Jacksonville, which is where he resides, and where AEW’s headquarters are located. Once that July event is out of the way then his focus will be on the new TV show.
“The next step in the plan was to get a TV launch, so everything has gone into plan. I am sure there will be things that won’t work out our plan, but everybody that I wanted we have on our roster,” said Khan. “To me, I can’t believe we did it but we have done it. We got all of the performers essentially that you wanted to get to headline the shows that are going to be the guys that will be there week in and week out for the TV show and we have a deep roster too. I have always talked about not doing a lot of five, six nights a week touring and keeping the wrestlers away from their homes, their families and other things they have going on in their life.”
Khan then brought up AEW wrestler Britt Baker who is also a practicing dentist. He cited her as an example of work/life balance as she may have to reschedule some AEW appearances in order to accommodate her practice.
“She is a really important person to our roster and is a great person and a great headliner. I think we have really helped make that possible for her and I want to keep doing that for people,” revealed Khan. “It’s not just people who are working outside of AEW, there are even people who work full-time for AEW with full-time health benefits. When we are up doing TV, it’s not like we are going to be on the road. Despite doing TV, it’s not like we are going to do 5-6 shows a week, even then a full-time schedule.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.
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