It could be an important week for WWE and AEW as they will have the chance to give presentations to advertisers at the upcoming network upfront meetings.
With live sporting events being in such high demand and all major sports leagues getting big TV rights deals, that is the direction that both companies are heading in. For AEW, they will start talks for its next TV rights deal soon with Warner Bros. Discover so getting bigger advertisers to support them will be important.
Dave Meltzer talked about this on today’s Wrestling Observer Radio. Pitching themselves as sports could earn them higher ad rates from advertisers who covet that type of programming.
“Both. WWE’s trying to position itself as sports in order to garner higher ad rates, which is funny but smart at the same time because they spent so many years trying to tell everyone they weren’t [a] sport. Now it’s a lot more convenient to say that they are, so they are. They’re pushing it like, ‘The one thing about our sport is that we have the game that goes back and forth until the final seconds because we can script it.’ Whatever, that’s what they say.
AEW, I think, WarnerMedia is trying to put it in the sports category as well for the very same reason, which is also beneficial as far as the selling of ad rates and just the overall positioning of the thing because WarnerMedia is trying to go heavily into sports right now…The new people in charge are just getting their feet wet.
There’s not going to be any decisions made. And for this year, the reality is, for this year, obviously they’re going to be on so you’re going to push them hard at the upfronts. Next year is the year that you’re really going to see what’s up when the people in charge are in charge and have made their decisions on what they’re going to do with programming and everything like that.”
Meltzer added that at first, AEW was going to be pushed strongly at the upfronts then not, and now back to being heavily supported.
Advertisers have been moving away from scripted programming for sports. To avoid scheduling conflicts with NBA and NHL, that’s the reason Dynamite moved from TNT to TBS earlier this year.
If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Wrestling Observer Radio with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription. A WrestlingObserver.com subscription includes the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and daily audio shows in addition to thousands of hours of archived audio shows.