Dave Meltzer Analyzes AEW's Future Amid WBD/NBA Talks

AEW faces potential shifts amid WBD's NBA negotiations.

by Atia Mukhtar
Dave Meltzer Analyzes AEW's Future Amid WBD/NBA Talks

The potential shift in Warner Bros Discovery's (WBD) sports broadcasting lineup could significantly impact All Elite Wrestling (AEW), as the media giant may lose the rights to air NBA games on TNT after the 2024-2025 season.

This development, which remains under negotiation, raises questions about the broader implications for WBD’s television strategy and its partnership with AEW. Dave Meltzer, a respected figure in wrestling journalism, shed light on the ongoing NBA rights negotiations in today’s edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

According to Meltzer, WBD CEO David Zaslav is unlikely to meet the financial demands necessary to maintain its current NBA broadcasting package. This could lead to a reshuffling of priorities within WBD’s sports and entertainment offerings.

AEW's Uncertain NBA Impact

Meltzer speculates that TNT losing NBA coverage might initially seem beneficial for AEW. The absence of the NBA could free up financial resources and create a greater need for compelling content.

However, the mainstay of AEW programming, 'Dynamite,' airs on TBS, which would likely remain unaffected by changes in TNT’s sports lineup. Therefore, the direct impact on AEW could be minimal in terms of broadcasting schedule disruptions.

Nevertheless, an industry insider linked to both wrestling and television networks indicated that a loss of NBA programming could reduce the fees WBD commands from cable and streaming services. This reduction in revenue could prompt WBD to tighten its overall television budget and shift focus towards acquiring other high-draw properties, such as college football or UFC, which might offer better returns on investment.

As AEW approaches the termination of its current media rights agreement with WBD, these developments become even more pertinent. AEW's CEO, Tony Khan, has confirmed that while the promotion is currently in an exclusive negotiation phase with WBD, they will soon be free to entertain offers from other broadcasters.

This period of transition offers AEW a crucial opportunity to evaluate its strategic position within the evolving television landscape and potentially secure a more advantageous deal that could influence its future growth and visibility.

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