Shad Khan talks AEW.
While Tony Khan is the President of All Elite Wrestling, the promotion may not exist without Tony's father Shad. The Jacksonville Jaguars owner, who is the financial backer of AEW, spoke to Yahoo Finance about the new wrestling company.
“It all started with my son Tony. It was his idea, his passion, his drive as a lifelong wrestling fan — so I’ve supported him financially," said Shad. "He kept talking about it, that we ought to do it, and here are the reasons why we should do it. I kept stress testing the idea, and then I struck a check to fund it because if you’re going to do it, it’s gotta be right. That was the most important thing. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, but his idea, his passion, and his drive, and it’s off to a great start.”
AEW and NXT go head-to-head on Wednesday nights, and while the two companies are direct competitors, Shad explained that AEW is going after a different fanbase than WWE.
“WWE is a great company, but we are not here competing with them. In the golden age of wrestling during the late ‘90s, there were 10 million fans. Now It’s down to 2 million. So we’re tapping into fans who were not engaged and quite frankly the younger fan who never got quite into it. Competition is good for everybody, but it’s very important for AEW to do our own thing," he said.
AEW has won the first two weeks of the rating war against NXT and has proven to attract a different fanbase as AEW is drawing twice the number of younger viewers as NXT.
Being an NFL team owner since 2012, Shad knows all about how the NFL works. But, as his son Tony explained to him, things aren't quite the same in the world of wrestling. Especially, when it comes to available talent.
“It’s quite different, and that’s the question I had for Tony. His point to me was that the big difference here is there’s a huge amount of talent that’s on the street. Whereas in football and the NFL, the top talent is already there.”
Fightful provides live coverage of AEW Dynamite every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET.