Tony Khan Discusses Initial Conversations With his Father About AEW


AEW President Tony Khan was recently on the Le Batard & Friends South Beach Sessions podcast. Here are some of the highlights: 

Initial conversations with his father, Shahid Khan, about AEW: 

“The initial conversations were like, this is kind of interesting, he wasn’t really going to commit to anything. And then I had brought in my good friend Kevin Riley, who also had shown some interest in the project. Kevin is the President of WarnerMedia and is the President of TNT and TBS Networks, and Kevin is the first person I’d really approached about this idea when the TV rights for wrestling had gotten very valuable and his network was going to be looking at getting involved. They didn’t end up bidding on the WWE TV contracts to the point where they were going to 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 for live TV viewership, it’s really a great way to bring new 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 different wrestling companies out of Georgia. So really, with Kevin coming in, my Dad was, of course, interested because here’s the President of WarnerMedia, the President of these huge cable channels, TNT and TBS, and he’s showing some interest in this, so my Dad’s thinking, I think, ‘OK, I probably should show up and show some interest in this.’ He knew that when that happened, ‘OK, if the networks are taking a look at this, this must be a serious deal.’”

Not secure a TV deal from TNT right away: 

“I was worried but I believed I could get them because I knew there was interest. I had heard from other TV channels that they had had serious interest in it if this hadn’t happened. I believed in the wrestling community, I believed in the wrestling fans, and I believed that this was something that everybody had been wanting for so long, for somebody who had the resources and the love of wrestling to step up and put together a roster, start a new league and do something with the production values that are really going to make people sit up and take notice. Because there hadn’t been a second major company running a live weekly television show from a different, nice arena every week. I think people have tried doing weekly TV shows that toured, and people have tried with much, much lower production values and much less of a production budget than what we have for our show, and they’ve tried taping in theme parks and stuff like that, but it just doesn’t have the same look as when you tour the country and you can run a great basketball arena like we’ve done.”

H/t to for the transcription

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