AEW SVP Chris Harrington Discusses AEW Appealing To More Diverse Audiences

AEW has rated very well in the 18 to 49 demographic, regularly topping the cable charts not only on Wednesdays, but for the entire week.

Despite the strong demo numbers, AEW has struggled in bringing in female fans and fans of color. According to Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics, AEW Dynamite audience is 68% white and 16% black. For reference the audience for WWE SmackDown is 53% white and 26% black while WWE Raw audience is 55% white and 23% black.

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Appearing on the Wrestlenomics podcast, AEW Senior Vice President Chris Harrington discussed how AEW can appeal to a more diverse audience.

"I don't know if we're missing on that opportunity as much as we're actively working all the time to bring more fans to wrestling," he said. "I think Tony Khan would say, he has brought in a lot of incredibly talented diverse faces and given them prominent roles on our shows -- they have earned prominent roles on our show because he has great interest in reflecting all of that. Whether it's a match with Red Velvet with Jade Cargill, we're developing new opportunities, which is great. TNT also has the NBA, which has a very large African American population that watches regularly. We're on a network that addresses a lot of people that they do have. On top of that, I would say the community initiative that we're working on right now, when Mark Henry came on board, it's been very interesting getting to know him. He would just tell you, 'I go to these Boys & Girls clubs in the city and I tell them about AEW. I say now it's your turn to show up. I'm inviting you. I'm making the effort to come see you.' Especially in people of color, that's something Mark is passionate about. He's like, 'I want all these communities to feel they are being represented and being seen and that diversity and acceptance is part of this.' For me, when I have a brand or advertiser say, 'I saw Sonny Kiss, that was really cool.' Okay, it connects and makes sense to somebody here, this opportunity to highlight or spotlight this person that maybe would not have gotten that opportunity in another company or other places. I love that."

Harrington continued by saying, "We'll continue to grow our share of audience of all people. It's something we think about and care about. We do think there have maybe not been as many opportunities given to everybody equally and it's good to give them that and opportunities of mentorship and discussion. It's great to have leaders like Mark who can say, 'this is what life has been like for me in my career and this is what this experience is like' and to have those serious chats and certainly when we put a Black Live Matters thing before one of our Dynamites, we had a lot of people say terrible things to us after that. Tony's response was really simple, 'forget them. I have no interest in you if you're offended by that. I'm making a statement.' He himself, as someone who is a child of an immigrant, is from a Pakistani father, that says a lot about his experience and it's important to give people these opportunities and we reach out to people and say what's happening. We're trying to listen."

AEW also rates lower when it comes to attracting female fans. Brandi Rhodes recently said that she hopes "Rhodes to the Top" will lead more female fans to AEW. You can find her full comments by clicking here.

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