By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW President Tony Khan appeared on today’s Sports Media Podcast hosted by Richard Deitsch. During the roughly one-hour conversation, Khan stated that executives from Warner Bros. Discovery will be in attendance at next week’s AEW Dynamite event in Los Angeles. “A lot of the top executives from Warner Bros. Discovery are not only coming to the show, but they’re throwing a great event for us afterward in The Forum,” Khan said.
“Just to have their presence to begin with, it means so much that they would come to the show, but also a lot of the top executives in the Warner Bros. Discovery family are going to have an event with us, with a lot of the people in AEW, and we’re going to hang out. That means the world to us and getting to know each other better. They’ve been so supportive and great coming in, and it means so much to us to be working with the largest producer of content after this great merger.”
Khan was also asked about streaming. “I think, in general, streaming is the biggest opportunity for the wrestling business in many ways,” said Khan. “I think AEW, there’s a lot of potential for us to expand our business into streaming, and that’s a conversation for us, especially with the new company that’s emerged post merger with Warner Bros. Discovery being so strong in streaming and having exciting plans going forward, that’s something we’re continuing to talk to them with them about. And I’m fortunate to work with such a big company where hopefully we can explore that, and I think it’s a big possibility as I own this great wrestling library now.
“Obviously, with what we’ve built at AEW, we’ve put together hundreds of hours of great footage and have the ability to produce so much great content on a weekly basis in addition to what’s on TNT and TBS every Wednesday and every Friday. We’ve also got the ability to produce more content with the great roster we have.
“Also, now I’ve purchased another great library and I have the ability to produce more great weekly content on a weekly basis with Ring of Honor. And they’ve got thousands of hours, an amazing history, and many of the biggest stars in all of wrestling, including AEW and our competitor, have come through Ring of Honor and now we’ve relaunched Ring of Honor and the future of what I believe could be weekly content from Ring of Honor, in addition to regular major events, in addition to the great weekly shows that we could produce.
“Going forward, there’s an opportunity with Ring of Honor too. So the world of wrestling and streaming is very exciting. Our competitor has done big stuff in the space, and there’s definitely a big revenue stream for the company and most importantly, a big opportunity for the wrestling fans who want this content. It’s something every day I see people calling for, literally, I’m not exaggerating, every single day I get messages from fans calling for that exact streaming service with a library of past events and/or future events.” Listen to the full podcast here.
Powell’s POV: The Warner Bros. Discovery post-show party is encouraging in terms of the relationship between the two companies. That doesn’t seem like something that would happen if the network executives were not interested in moving forward with AEW once their current television deal expires in early 2024. Meanwhile, it’s crazy that the two sides have yet to strike a streaming deal. Perhaps that will change coming out of the merger, as Warner Bros. Discovery owns HBO Max and the Discovery+ apps, which are both major players in streaming. Deitsch and Khan also spoke about Eric Bischoff and Conrad Thompson’s debate regarding whether it’s better to have casual fans or the hardcore audience, Khan’s own media consumption habits, bringing back Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone, how he produces the broadcast teams, MJF’s contract, the Brodie Lee tribute show, former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer likely returning to Fox, how Khan views long term success, and planning AEW Double Or Nothing around a potential seventh game of the Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics series in the NBA Playoffs.