WWE and AEW have both been predicted to land significant increases on their television deals once their next contracts have been finalised.
Wrestlenomics' Brandon Thurston expects that with WWE's Raw and SmackDown deals (with NBCUniversal and Fox respectively) set to expire on 30 September 2024 and AEW's Dynamite/Rampage contract with Warner Bros. Discovery concluding on 31 December 2024, new deals will likely be rubber-stamped between next spring and fall.
Thurston expects WWE will land a deal worth around 1.5x more than the $470 million it currently earns annually, with the increase relating to the company's stock price.
AEW, meanwhile, is more complicated, though a raise of somewhere between 3x and 5x could be justified, ratings-wise, when compared to what leagues like the NHL, EPL, and WWE are currently paid in the US. The Tony Khan-helmed group currently earns around $44 million in annual television rights fees.
I expect WWE to get about a 1.5x raise and believe that rate is baked into the stock price.Advertisement
AEW is less predictable. Can justify a 3x to 5x raise based on ratings in comparison with a rights like WWE, NHL, and EPL.Both will come down to number of bidders, among other factors. pic.twitter.com/Jxrek4L98d— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) August 5, 2022
Recent months have seen AEW's televised future come under increased scrutiny following Discovery's takeover of WarnerMedia. This week, the Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer stated that Warner Bros. Discovery's budget cuts, slashing of original scripted content, and HBO Max's potential cancellation (the platform has since been announced for a merger with the Discovery+ platform) were "not good news at all" for AEW. Nonetheless, Dynamite continues to perform strongly on TBS, standing as the Discovery station's top performing Wednesday night show outwith the NBA season.
This week's Dynamite drew 938,000 viewers including 417,000 aged 18-49 for a rating of 0.32, which was enough for the show to finish first on the night amongst original cable telecasts. Rampage, meanwhile, is struggling, with last week's show posting an all-time low 0.11 rating in the key 18-49 demographic.