WWE held their Q3 conference call today. George Barrios was on the call. Vince McMahon is normally on the call, but he was in Saudi Arabia for Crown Jewel.
One of the callers today asked him if he views AEW as competition. His answer was a bit deflective, but in short the answer was yes.
“The live content ecosystem is competitive. So whether you’re talking about the NFL, which kind of stands alone on that next tier of us, the NBA, [Major League] Baseball, NASCAR, and then you start kind of moving down and you get to the third or fourth tier. So everybody is a competitor to some degree. Ultimately, what we try to do is drive as much engagement as we can on Monday and Friday nights, and we feel pretty good on our history in doing that. And then our ability to continue doing that in the future.
So they’re a competitor, like there’s a lot of competition for eyeballs, and we take them seriously. And our expectation is that we win.”
However, the real winner has been the World Series. They drew about 23 million last night for game 7.
Barrios was also asked how AEW has impacted the cost of superstars. In other words, has WWE had to pay more to keep wrestlers with more competition in the market. Specifically, he was asked about Jericho’s statement about his huge contract.
Barrios said costs were up for every phase of managing WWE. This includes wrestler contracts, but he didn’t want to speculate if AEW was a factor or not.
“As far as individual talent making choices, everyone’s got a decision to make. I will say, we have a sizable wrestling platform by an order of magnitude, maybe two orders magnitude of anyone in the world. The amount of consumption we do in the United States, across the world on traditional pay TV, the 35 billion video views that we do, the over 1 billion social media accounts that we have, being the large – second largest SVOD sports service in the world. So I would imagine, I’m not a talent myself. But I would imagine, as people are thinking about who to align with, that all those things are really, really important. We certainly think so.”