Tony Khan Explains How TBS/TNT’s WWE Plans Led To AEW TV Deal

Tony Khan Explains How TBS/TNT’s WWE Plans Led To AEW TV Deal WWE/AEW

Tony Khan has opened up about the origins of AEW and how his industry insight and WWE plans led to the partnership with TNT & TBS.

With a background within the ‘internet wrestling community’ that goes back to being 12 years old, Khan used some of his industry knowledge to help him secure his television deal.

In an appearance on the Locked on NFL Draft podcast, Tony Khan discussed the origins of AEW, saying:

“It’s something I started working on in 2018. The idea to launch AEW, a lot of things came together, and I believed there were enough great wrestlers that would be available in the beginning of 2019 to launch a wrestling league. In April 2018, I started working on this.”

Khan would go on to reveal a pivotal meeting and how following the wrestling business led to the television partnership, adding:

“I was at a party in Beverly Hills on a Friday night. I saw my friend, who at the time was the President of TBS and TNT [Kevin Reilly].

“I walked up to him, I was visiting with him a little bit, and I said, ‘Kevin, are you looking at bidding on wrestling TV rights?’

“He was, and he was looking to bid on SmackDown. He told me what he was willing to pay, he said, $150 to $175 million a year.

“I follow the industry closely, so I knew that it was going to go over $200 million, and it did. I pointed out, ‘I don’t know if that’s going to get it done. For a lot less than that, we could launch a new wrestling league on TNT and eventually TBS, too.’ That’s what happened.”

In June 2018, WWE would announce a ‘multi-year media rights deal‘ with USA Network and Fox Sports.

With AEW media rights currently in the exclusive negotiation window with WBD, the parent company of TNT & TBS, it was recently reported that the figure on offer is “less than what [AEW] wanted” with no deal yet signed.

Transcript from Fightful.

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