Despite the coronavirus pandemic shutting down sports across the world, wrestling has continued along with WWE and AEW running their weekly events.
While some believed viewership numbers would go up with no sports competition and people being stuck inside, that hasn't been the case. But Tony Khan knew there would be a dip with the empty arena shows.
"We talked about (using PPV footage). I'm really proud of the shows we did without having to put those pay-per-views on television. That's not what they were designed to be. We're not playing classic matches on Dynamite, Dynamite is supposed to be a fresh, new show. In this environment without fans, you don't necessarily need to go live. I told the network, 'I bet we'll be down 10 percent.' We are literally, down 10 (percent) exactly," said Khan on AEW Unrestricted.
The first AEW empty arena show (March 18) drew 932,000 viewers while the most recent episode (April 29) drew 693,000 viewers, which is a 25% decrease. However, the final show with fans (March 11) drew 766,000 viewers, which is a 9% decrease from the most recent episode.
The 18-49 demographic number has held strong with March 11 producing a .26 rating, March 18 hitting a .35 rating and April 29 posting a .27 rating.
While TNT has been happy with ratings, AEW has lost out on plenty of money in live events. The company was set to hold big events in Rochester and Newark along with its annual Double or Nothing event. The loss of those live events has cost AEW millions.
"We're doing well and the situation is good. We're blessed that we signed a long extension with TNT. For AEW, our partnership with TNT and putting on great shows is our revenue stream because we're not doing the big events. We were on our best run. Our run through Revolution is the best stuff we've done. We're in a great position because we have this partnership with TNT. Between Revolution and Double or Nothing, this was going to be the best run of business we've ever had. And we've lost millions and millions of dollars in live events. I don't take it lightly, but I can't take it out on the people that work here because it's not their fault. Eventually, we're going to have to because it's a business. But now is not the time. In the big picture, we're in good shape and we're the second healthiest wrestling company in the world," said Khan.
Elsewhere during the podcast, Khan said he was proud that he didn't have to let anyone going during the pandemic. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
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