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AEW All In Closing In On Ticket Sales Record As Dynamite Hits Episode 200

AEW All In Closing In On Ticket Sales Record As Dynamite Hits Episode 200

August 3, 2023

AEW All In Closing In On Ticket Sales Record As Dynamite Hits Episode 200

All Elite Wrestling hosted the 200

episode of AEW Dynamite, its flagship television show, last night in Tampa, Florida.

The milestone is one of two noteworthy achievements the challenger brand will post this month. AEW All In, a pay-per-view show scheduled for August 27 at London’s Wembley Stadium, is tracking to be one of –if not the most– well-attended wrestling events in history (at least outside of the two government-funded shows WCW did in North Korea).

"80,709 [at WrestleMania 32] is the real record and AEW is close to topping that," Dave Meltzer (publisher, Wrestling Observer Newsletter) said.

All In has already sold 77,000 plus tickets worth more than $9 million, and Tony Khan and Co. still have another three weeks to sell inventory.

For contextual purposes, $9 million is more revenue than the top six gates in AEW history combined. Of course, those shows were all held in NBA/NHL arenas. The lone exception being the inaugural AEW Grand Slam event at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which also had a capacity of just ~20,000.

September ’21 was coincidentally the last time


The promotion's live event revenues and PPV sales figures have held steady since (think: 140,000-150,000 range). But AEW's most significant business-related achievements of the last two years are tied to the expansion of its domestic media rights deal and the successful bets it made on international expansion, including the aforementioned Wembley show.

AEW's new two-hour Saturday night show, Collision, premiered on June 17.

“Now, we have five hours of [national] TV each week,” Tony Khan (CEO, GM and head of creative, AEW) said.

Three on TNT (Collision + AEW Rampage on Friday nights) and two on TBS (Dynamite on Wednesday nights).

Khan noted it was Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s idea to add two more hours. Presumably, the network executive sees value in the promotion’s ability to reliably draw ratings at a comparatively inexpensive price.

"On a CPVH basis, AEW provides tremendous value to WBD at [the] current rights fee," Dan Cohen (EVP, local media rights consulting, Octagon) said. "Especially, in light of TNT’s recent dip in cable subscribers, it’s programming like AEW that helps the network log eyeballs." 

Dynamite has finished amongst the top-two shows on cable five of the last six Wednesday nights. Last week’s Collision (July 29) also finished second amongst all cable telecasts that evening.

Dynamite and Rampage have reportedly generated an average of ~$44 million/year over the life of their deals. So, even if you were to account for the increases that exist on the back end of those pacts and tack on some additional money for Collision, WBD is paying just a small portion of the $470 million/year WWE gets for the same five hours of live television each week.

Warner Bros. Discovery’s rights to Dynamite, Rampage, and Collision expire at the end of 2023, though it has been reported a network option exists for 2024. Based on comps and performance, AEW should be in for a meaningful lift when its rights do come up for renegotiation.

“Given its viewing delivery, scalability, and the importance of high-quality scripted wrestling entertainment programming as a genre to Pay TV distributors, it would make sense if WBD chose to reinvest," Patrick Crakes (principal, Crakes Media) said. "And importantly, even with a big increase to AEW, WBD would be paying a fraction of what FOX and NBC pay to the WWE, meaning WBD can secure strategic content at an effective price.”

Back in May, the promotion was rumored to be close to signing a 5-year $1 billion extension. The veracity of that deal remains unclear. 

However, it was said to have included streaming rights. AEW does not currently have an OTT service available in America (WBD has the exclusive rights). 

That should change when the rights come up. The company believes its library of old Dynamite, Rampage, and Collision episodes, the ~20 AEW PPVs held to date, and all the Ring of Honor content it acquired from Sinclair have value to fans and streamers alike. And there could still be opportunities to expand the live event calendar and/or to create new PPV events that would make the offering even more desirable.

“We should be very attractive as an addition to a streamer like Max,” Khan said.

If AEW is unable to command the rights fee sought for its streaming package, it will standup its own a service as it did with WatchROH.com; and as it has done abroad with AEW+.

The company has robust linear distribution overseas too. AEW content is now broadcast in 150 countries.

While its deals with ITV (U.K.) and TSN (Canada) have been in place from the start, the promotion added new pacts with ESPN (New Zealand and Australia), Sky (Italy), VIX (Mexico), DMAX (Germany) and Eurosport (India) over the last two years. Of course, DMAX and Eurosport are WBD subsidiaries.

AEW also began taking its live show overseas within the last 18 months.

“We did our first full tour of Canada this year,” Khan said.

The promotion held eight shows across six cities. It is now gearing up for its first European stop–and it’s going to be massive.

All In is “already the most successful wrestling event ever in Europe in terms of live sales,” Khan said, and will finish among the top 10 highest gates of all-time.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that AEW is so popular in England. The promotion airs six times/week on broadcast television in the market.

Khan’s father, Jacksonville Jaguars principal owner Shad Khan, invested north of $100 million in AEW. That money has not been recouped in full to date.

But that’s in part because of the capital the duo has chosen to reinvest back into the business.

“We made a lot of investments into the future developing these TV properties, a new video game, and in merchandising, such as our action figure line and our partnership with Berkshire Hathaway-owned Jazwares,” Khan said.

The AEW executive said Fight Forever would do a minimum of eight figures in sales this year.

In total, AEW expects to post “well over” $100 million in ’23 revenue. Khan said would be the company’s biggest year to date, in terms of gross revenue, “by far.”

“We’ve grown the business many times over and it has been a great investment,” he added. “We’ve built a brand that is worth more than our initial investment.”

Forbes has reported that if Khan were to sell the promotion today he could get 

 for it.

"The new [media rights] deal is obviously the key to everything," Meltzer said. "But the company has done very well for itself, far exceeding the most optimistic predictions at the start."