AEW took the world by storm back in 2019 as it was the first pro wrestling company in a very long time that made waves in the pro wrestling world as a form of competition for WWE. It was certainly a risky endeavor as well because there was always the chance it was going to end up being a huge failure. It seems Tony Khan has a reason for focusing on hardcore fans.
AEW has all the momentum in the world right now thanks to the debuts of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole to their roster. This has ensured that the roster is one of the most stacked in all of pro wrestling.
While AEW Dynamite had a long streak where they consistently had over 1 million viewers every week, that has slowly changed over the past few weeks as viewership has plummeted below 1 million.
While speaking on the Wrestling Perspective Podcast, AEW President Tony Khan talked about dwindling ratings in recent weeks. Khan said that hardcore fans are the only ones who are watching pro wrestling right now and that is why he is focusing on them only.
“I understand it, there used to be a more broad base of people watching wrestling and now it’s really like all of television, hardcore fans. It makes what the National Football League does that more impressive that the audience for the NFL has grown while the audience for TV has shrunk and shrunk and shrunk. The TV audience goes down 9% a year, it’s gone down 9% last year, 9% the year before, and it’s down 18% the last two years.
The wrestling ratings are very steady compared to everything else, and the NFL is up. The audience for TV has changed, all things have become more hardcore audience-based and that is a part of it. It’s also like sports, sports online is very tribalistic and the fans of the sports are very quick to say what they’re a fan of and not a fan of.
There’s a lot of people that like both and just aren’t making a lot of noise and the people who are making a lot of noise are the people that feel strongly one way or the other whether they like AEW or they like our competition. It’s not altogether dissimilar to what’s happening in the world of pro sports. I think overall it’s a good thing that there are all these fans dedicated to the show but in the Monday Night Wars, there were people online that felt one way or the other, and frankly, as the thing went on and on more of them moved towards the WWF.
They did really well and in 1998-99, that was the show that was giving the people what they wanted to see in the 90s. In terms of tribalism, I think it’s something that’s been around for a long time and a big part of sports.”
Tony Khan also previously stated that he has a lot of long-term storylines planned in AEW. It remains to be seen what plans Tony Khan has in store for fans in the coming months.
h/t to Wrestling Inc for the quotes.
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