Tony Khan Thinks Hardcore Audiences Are Exclusively Watching Wrestling

Tony Khan was a guest on the latest episode of the Wrestling Perspective Podcast. Last week on Dynamite, AEW drew 872,000 viewers, marking it the third-lowest audience since fans returned to the show. While speaking about how television audiences have decreased in the last several years, Tony Khan stated that hardcore fans are really the only ones watching wrestling nowadays.

"I understand it, there used to be a more broad base of people watching wrestling and now it's really like all of television, hardcore fans," Khan mentioned. "It makes what the National Football League does that more impressive that the audience for the NFL has grown while the audience for TV has shrunk and shrunk and shrunk. The TV audience goes down 9% a year, it's gone down 9% last year, 9% the year before, and it's down 18% the last two years.

"The wrestling ratings are very steady compared to everything else, and the NFL is up. The audience for TV has changed, all things have become more hardcore audience-based and that is a part of it. It's also like sports, sports online is very tribalistic and the fans of the sports are very quick to say what they're a fan of and not a fan of.

"There's a lot of people that like both and just aren't making a lot of noise and the people who are making a lot of noise are the people that feel strongly one way or the other whether they like AEW or they like our competition. It's not altogether dissimilar to what's happening in the world of pro sports. I think overall it's a good thing that there are all these fans dedicated to the show but in the Monday Night Wars, there were people online that felt one way or the other, and frankly, as the thing went on and on more of them moved towards the WWF.

"They did really well and in 1998-99, that was the show that was giving the people what they wanted to see in the 90s. In terms of tribalism, I think it's something that's been around for a long time and a big part of sports."

The AEW President joined Christopher Walker of DAZN earlier this week to tease potential debuts scattered over several upcoming AEW shows.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Wrestling With Sports with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.