wrestling / News

Disputed Reports on Whether AEW Will Have to Pay For TV Time in Potential Turner Deal

April 18, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
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UPDATED: Not all sources seem to be on the same page regarding AEW’s potential television deal with Turner Sports. After The Wrap TV reporter Tony Maglio told 411’s Jeffrey Harris that “My understanding based on the people I’ve spoken to is that it would be more AEW paying for its time on TNT than Turner paying AEW for its show,” a couple of other reports broke disputing the news.

First came Dave Meltzer, who said on the F4 Online message board that “One hour is false. Time buy is false. It’s the exact opposite.” He cited sports rights for companies like Bellator, UFC on ESPN and Matchroom as examples where “people are offering tons of money both for weekly live programming and also to get their streaming services starting.” He also noted that one of the reasons that the deal has yet to be signed is multiple bidders for the company’s show.

Secondly, the Voices of Wrestling Twitter account said that they have checked with two sources as to whether timebuys were on the table, and the answers given were no.

Maglio has addressed the disputions, pointing out (as we noted) that he simply said an hour would make sense and was not currently the plan, and that AEW themselves have said that an off-season is a possibility.

ORIGINAL: It appears as if All Elite Wrestling could end up paying for air time in their potential deal with Turner Sports. Speaking with our own Jeffrey Harris for the 411 Wrestling Interviews podcast, The Wrap reporter Tony Maglio revealed that AEW’s reported deal would likely include the company paying for their airtime. Maglio was the reporter who originally broke the news of AEW’s advanced talks with WarnerMedia via The Wrap.

Earlier in the conversation when discussing what format AEW’s TV show may take, Maglio said that he expected that it won’t be a three-hour show and that a one-hour show could make more sense, noting, “they have to pay for air time.” Later on in the discussion, he said that according to people he’s spoken to, “they’ll be buying their TV time, essentially, in all likelihood.” He noted that AEW is “unproven.”

“As excited as people are, they have cool t-shirts and a cool roster, you know, but they’re unproven, let’s be realistic,” Maglio said.

He added, “My understanding based on the people I’ve spoken to is that it would be more AEW paying for its time on TNT than Turner paying AEW for its show. Another very good wrestling reporter and I had been talking about whether that would be the case or whether it would be a revenue share, and we’d both heard rumblings and talked to people. Maybe a couple of months ago it might have been a little bit of a different story. But the truth is, when you’re talking to Turner, [they’re] a very well-established, very well-off company inside of gigantic parent company…it’s not the UFC. It’s not WWE, it’s not MLB. They have MLB, they have NBA. They know what they have to pay for. And I think currently, AEW has way more to prove than Turner has in terms of trying to get them to come to their networks. I think AEW needs this deal more than Turner does.”

If AEW is paying for its airtime on TNT, that would be a very different sort of deal for a lot of obvious reasons. WWE’s deals with USA Network and FOX for Raw and Smackdown will bring in heavy licensing fees for WWE, much like their previous deal with USA did for both shows. Essentially, USA Network is paying WWE for the broadcast rights to the show. Obviously, that’s very different than a situation where AEW would essentially be buying airtime on which they could broadcast their TV show. TNA paid for their airtime during the FOX Sports Net period in 2004 to 2005, leasing the hour on Fridays during which they aired Impact!. There were reports that TNA also paid for their airtime on POP TV, something which POP denied.

You can listen to the full conversation below.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the 411 Wrestling Interview Podcast on 411mania.com.

Introduction (0:00)
On how far along AEW’s conversations are with Turner Sports (0:52)
On why Turner is willing to have wrestling return to their networks (3:33)
On what format AEW’s television show will likely take and off-seasons in wrestling (8:26)
On whether reports of the AEW TV deal could possibly jinx or affect it (19:27)
On wrestling journalism vs. general entertainment journalism (21:03)
On Turner’s potential streaming homes for AEW (25:13)
On WWE and AEW’s handling of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight episode (30:21)
On the importance of Smackdown’s deal with FOX and whether it makes Smackdown the “A” show (40:00)
On AEW’s impact on WWE’s talent deals and whether it can be competition to WWE (43:12)
On how Vince McMahon Feels about the AEW TV deal and AEW possibly paying for their airtime on Turner (49:10)

You can subscribe and listen to the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast via the above player on Transistor, or on the following platforms:
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