WWE and AEW will both have an opportunity to make presentations to advertisers at the upcoming network upfront meetings. This year, both companies are taking a different approach. With live sports being heavily in demand among broadcasters and advertisers, pro wrestling is being sold as such.
AEW will be important to watch during the upfront meetings. Tony Khan’s company has to prove to the new brass at Warner Bros. Discover that the product is a hit with advertisers. AEW will start negotiating its next TV rights deal soon, and an impressive showing will only help their cause.
On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer discussed the plans for both WWE and AEW as upfronts quickly approach. Both companies will present their product as a sport to try and garner higher rates from advertisers who covet that type of programming.
“Yeah, WWE’s trying to position itself as sports in order to garner higher ad rates, which is funny but smart at the same time because they spent so many years trying to tell everyone they weren’t sport, but now it’s a lot more convenient to say that they are, so they are. They’re pushing it like, ‘The one thing about our sport is that we have the game that goes back and forth until the final seconds because we can script it. That’s what they say.
AEW, I think, WarnerMedia is trying to put it in the sports category as well for the very same reason, which is also beneficial as far as the selling of ad rates and just the overall positioning of the thing, because WarnerMedia is trying to go heavily into sports right now… It’s certainly good, yeah. The new people in charge are just getting their feet wet. There’s not going to be any decisions made. The reality is, for this year, obviously they’re going to be on so you’re going to push them hard at the upfronts. Next year is the year that you’re really going to see what’s up when the people in charge are ‘in charge’ and have made their decisions on what they’re going to do with programming and everything like that.”
WWE and AEW are both making the smart move of trying to position themselves as live sports. Advertisers have been moving away from scripted programming for some time now. If they can convince corporate America that pro wrestling is a sport, both companies could greatly benefit.
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Transcription by Ringside News