The news is in, and AEW has signed a huge UK deal. Can they match it in the United States?
AEW released details of their first UK deal today, on ITV in the UK. This deal puts them on EVERY SINGLE HOUSEHOLD in the UK, which is a big big deal. I am excited for this for the UK market (which is very important), as well as what it means for the United States deal. This is better than WWE’s deal in the UK, which puts their product behind a paywall.
I don’t know the financials of the deals, but I can tell you that the US deal was described to me as being huge for All Elite Wrestling as well. How huge? It was described to me as being nearly as much exposure as WWE has for Raw and Smackdown in that current deal. USA Network is on 102 million homes, over 85% of the total homes with at least one television in the nation. The rumored TBS/TNT network deal would but them on 95 million homes.
I see the XFL deal as being a model for AEW: great exposure, no money. And that’s okay. What matters most is the second deal, once they prove themselves. If the company is getting exposure for free, I am here for it. The exposure should be top priority if they have money to spend (and they do). This UK deal should scare WWE, and a TV deal of equal impact should scare them even more. This doesn’t mean WWE is going out of business, but those of us who were slow to call AEW competition (myself included) need to come around at least on the potential. This is huge, and should just be the beginning, and as I have said in the past, 2019 is shaping up to be one of the most important in wrestling history.
Full press release is below.
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ITV ANNOUNCES AEW “DOUBLE OR NOTHING” WRESTLING EVENT FOR ITV BOX OFFICE
— All Elite Wrestling’s Highly Anticipated PPV Show will Ignite the Screen with Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, The Young Bucks, Cody, SCU, and more —
LONDON, UK, (May 8, 2019) – ITV, the largest commercial television network in the UK, announced a partnership today with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), the new wrestling promotion headlined by members of The Elite, to broadcast the highly anticipated DOUBLE OR NOTHING event on its ITV Box Office channel.
Fans across the UK can look forward to seeing all the drama, action and entertainment live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on the night of Saturday 25 May going into Sunday 26 May. DOUBLE OR NOTHING, which sold out in under 30 minutes, features an electrifying card packed with stars including the headline clash between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho. The wrestling world will rock as Cody takes on his brother Dustin Rhodes, The Young Bucks battle the Lucha Bros for the AAA World Tag Team Championship, Hangman Adam Page clashes with PAC, and Britt Baker, Nyla Rose and Kylie Rae compete in a three-way match.
Additionally, before the live pay-per-view event begins at 1:00 a.m. GMT, Sunday, May 26, the hourlong live pre-show special BUY-IN will air for free on ITV4 at midnight. BUY-IN includes the first ever “Casino (Battle) Royale,” which will see 21 competitors including Jimmy Havoc, Billy Gunn, MJF, Michael Nakzawa, Jungle Boy, Glacier, Sonny Kiss, and Joey Janela entering the ring in waves of five wrestlers every three minutes followed by one final entrant, lucky number 21, all fighting it out in the ring until there is one winner, whose reward will be a future title shot against the first ever AEW World Champion. BUY-IN will also feature a pair of high-flyers squaring off one-on-one as the UK’s own Kip Sabian will face Sammy Guevara.
“We’re delighted to announce this partnership with AEW, whose entry into professional wrestling is already making a massive impact on the industry and promises to deliver an electrifying event later this month, and a fantastic experience for our viewers and wrestling fans in the UK,” said Niall Sloane, Director of Sport, ITV. “Joining forces with AEW for this event is faithful to ITV’s More Than TV strategy to develop direct relationships with viewers through big events available on its platforms.”
“We’ve stated since our launch that we want to make this the greatest time ever to be a professional wrestling fan, and part of this plan is to make our product as accessible as possible to a global audience,” said Tony Khan, President/CEO of AEW. “Since our launch in January, we’ve signed the best talent, sold out our debut show in record time, and we’ve built relationships and formed bonds with the best media partners like ITV. This collaboration with ITV is so important to AEW, ITV is the best in the UK, they were always my first choice to be our international PPV partner for DOUBLE OR NOTHING, and we’re looking forward to a great show.”
In addition, a special pre-event show “Before the Bell” will air for free on ITV4 and ITV Box Office in the build up to the DOUBLE OR NOTHING broadcast. Details about how to access DOUBLE OR NOTHING on ITV Box Office can be found at www.itvboxoffice.com.
ITV ITV is an integrated producer broadcaster and the largest commercial television network in the UK. It is the home of popular television from the biggest entertainment events, to original drama, major sport, landmark factual series and independent news. It operates a family of channels including ITV, ITVBe, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 and CITV, which are broadcast free-to- air. ITV is also focused on delivering its programming via the ITV Hub, mobile devices, video on demand and third-party platforms. ITV Studios is a global production business, creating and selling programmes and formats from offices in the UK, US, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Nordics and the Netherlands. It is the largest and most successful commercial production company in the UK, the largest independent non-scripted indie in the US and ITV Studios Global Entertainment is a leading international distribution business.
All Elite Wrestling AEW is a new professional wrestling promotion headlined by members of The Elite (The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Cody and Brandi Rhodes, and Hangman Page) and Chris Jericho. For the first time in many years, AEW is offering an alternative to mainstream wrestling, with a growing roster of world-class male and female wrestlers who are poised to bring new spirit, freshness and energy to the industry. The inaugural event under the AEW banner is DOUBLE OR NOTHING on May 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, followed by FYTER FEST on June 29 in Daytona Beach, followed by FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN on July 13 in Jacksonville. For more info, check out @AEWrestling (Twitter), @AllEliteWrestling (Instagram), /AllEliteWrestling (FB), AllEliteWrestling (YouTube), and additionally, AllEliteWrestling.com.