AEW is owned by Shahid Khan, but Tony Khan runs the company as their president. There was a lot of things that needed to come together before All Elite Wrestling could even be announced. A lot of faith was needed as well.
While speaking with Le Batard & Friends, Tony Khan explains what it took to convince his father that All Elite Wrestling was a serious business opportunity.
“The initial conversations were that this was interesting, he wasn’t going to commit to anything. Then I brought in my good friend Kevin Reilly who is also my good friend. Kevin is the president of Warner Media and he’s the President of TNT and TBS Networks. Kevin was the first person that I approached about this idea when the TV rights for wrestling had gotten very valuable.”
“His network was going to get involved. They didn’t end up bidding on the WWE TV contracts to the point where they would be seriously considered to air Raw or SmackDown, but they had taken a look at that and done their due diligence and I think he realized that there’s a big audience for wrestling and live TV viewership. It’s really a great way of bringing viewers to your channel and TNT had a great history of broadcasting wrestling going back to WCW and even before WCW to Jim Crockett promotions and in Georgia.”
“With Kevin coming in my dad was interested because here’s the president of Warner Media, the president of these huge cable channels TNT and TBS and he’s showing some interest in it. So my dad’s probably thinking ‘I should show up and show some interest in this.’ He knew when that happened that if the networks are taking a look at this then it must be a serious deal.”
AEW was a huge leap of faith for everyone responsible for putting the company together. Tony Khan said at the time when there was interest from TNT big talent contracts hadn’t even been signed.
It’s a good thing that everyone saw the same possibilities in the pro wrestling scene or All Elite Wrestling might not have even gotten off the ground.
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