All Elite Wrestling (AEW) fans are eagerly anticipating a major announcement set to be made by owner Tony Khan and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD). This company owns TNT and TBS, the networks that air AEW programming. Speculations have been running wild, with hints of a new Saturday TNT show called Collision and the highly anticipated return of CM Punk on June 17th.
While the details remain undisclosed, sources suggest that the upcoming announcement will revolve around Collision, possibly involving CM Punk. Dave Meltzer, the renowned wrestling journalist of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, shed light on the upcoming TV deal.
It is reported that all AEW programming will be exclusively featured on WBD-owned channels, encompassing five hours of weekly wrestling content. This includes the two-hour Wednesday show on TBS, the one-hour Friday show, and the two-hour Saturday show, all airing on TNT.
However, it's important to note that this deal does not extend to ROH, considered a separate company. Additionally, spinoff programming, except Being the Elite, is expected to be kept separate since the Young Bucks own it.
Potential Impact on AEW's PPV Business
Meltzer also addressed the potential impact on AEW's pay-per-view (PPV) business in light of the TV deal.
The question arises whether the PPV format will remain unchanged or if it will be integrated into a streaming service. Possibilities include a joint venture between WBD and AEW, similar to the collaboration between TV Asahi and NJPW for New Japan World.
There is speculation about potential streaming platforms such as Discovery+ or MAX hosting AEW's PPV events. Furthermore, whether the deal would be limited to domestic rights or expand to a global audience remains to be determined.
AEW generates approximately $2.5 million per show from its five annual PPV events, including a joint venture with New Japan Pro Wrestling. Should AEW transition to streaming, Meltzer suggests that a minimum guarantee of $15 million for PPV would be necessary to account for the company's growth.
Considering the rising prices in combat sports, such as UFC at $80 and major boxing events at $85, a move to $60 per event seems inevitable. However, AEW has maintained a steady pricing structure thus far. Meltzer estimates domestic PPV could be valued at $3.5 million per event if AEW sells streaming rights to WBD.
Additionally, the number of PPV events produced is also a topic of discussion, as WWE, UFC, and Impact Wrestling offer 12 events on their respective streaming platforms. As fans eagerly await the announcement, the future of AEW's TV deal and potential streaming integration holds great significance for the company's continued growth and the evolution of its PPV model.