Wednesday, 15 May – Billionaire backed start-up wrestling promotion, All Elite Wrestling, officially announced today that they have signed a multi platform television broadcast deal with TNT.
AEW released the following official press statement:
Later this year, WarnerMedia will provide exclusive multi-platform access for fans to watch AEW events, airing live weekly matches on TNT in prime time, as well as streaming them through WarnerMedia’s B/R Live and on pay-per-view. A leading digital sports enterprise, B/R Live’s high fan engagement will provide an invaluable opportunity to build AEW’s audience.
The deal will be for a weekly program, and will air on Tuesday nights, just as WWE Smackdown! Live moves over to Friday nights on FOX.
As many fans will note that TNT used to be the official home for World Championship Wrestling’s Monday Nitro between 1995 to 2001 before WCW went bankrupt and all their assets were bought by the WWF alongside all assets from ECW, partly resulting in the name change for the Federation to WWE.
There is no official start date for AEW’s weekly program on TNT yet, but sources have reported that it is set to release in the Fall (USA seasonal), Spring in South Africa. However it is expected that TNT will give more insight later today at WarnerMedia’s upfronts.
Having TNT in their corner, AEW is certainly set to go from stride to stride, especially with a broadcast partner whom have been in the wrestling business before, and more than that, went toe to toe with the WWF during the Monday Night Wars. The most exciting time in pro wrestling history. Various figures within AEW including Executive Vice-President, Cody Rhodes, have said in the past that AEW is not looking to compete with the WWE as times have changed.
There is no more war on time for consumers. In the past, before the digital age of information, broadcasting companies fought for viewership during their specific allocated slots. However, in today’s age, with technology such as video-on-demand and PVR there is no more need for consumers to pick a program to watch. One can simply record one show with a press of the button and watch another one. Download your content and watch it whenever you want. This is a very progressive way of looking at tv programs in general. A view not shared by WWE, whom still firmly believes in fighting a tug-of-war battle for viewer’s time.
It is interesting to note, that Vince McMahon earlier this week said in his interview with Variety, that he never truly felt threatened by WCW, whom also had a Billionaire backing the promotion, McMahon noted that even though WCW was able to take out the cheque book and buy any one of his wrestlers at any given time, he knew that eventually they would fold under the hard grind. Which they did. Professional Wrestling, and especially running a professional wrestling promotion is one of the toughest jobs in the world.
It will be interesting to see if TNT learned from their mistakes in the 90’s and if their new young fresh blooded promotion owners is the fresh breath and expertise they need to succeed. With the sons of the late legendary Dusty Rhodes, whom also was heavily involved in much of the success of WCW, well immersed in all sides of the pro wrestling industry and learned their skills and business acumen from the best in the world, their father, as well as the god father of professional wrestling, Vince McMahon, it is sure to be an extremely interesting path ahead for both AEW and WWE.
The Slamforce-Africa.com team would like to congratulate Cody, the Bucks and Mr Kahn on their TNT broadcasting deal.
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