AEW were the first televised company to bring back fans, Tony Khan has now spoken about his thoughts behind that decision.
Speaking on Rasslin With Brandon Walker, Khan explained his thought process behind bringing the fans back, and interestingly what 1930’s past-time inspired his decision.
Eventually, as we’ve gone on and learned more, we learned we could do outdoor shows with limited risk of transmission as long as we kept everyone split up. I wanted to bring fans back and allow fans to come to the show in a safe manner.
This was inspired by drive-in movies. When I saw drive-in movies were doing it, I was thinking there had to be a way to do it. At first, I thought about doing drive-in wrestling, but it wasn’t viable to get the ring set-up and do it with cars, though I do think people have tried it and it’s a cool idea.
For us, doing a live television show, sooner or later you’re going to run into logistical problems with weather and other challenges. Before any sports had done it, we were the first ones to have pod seating and giving them a chance to do socially distance viewings of the show.
Khan also said that they’ve had just over 1,000 fans inside Daily’s Place for AEW recently, which has helped title wins and other moments on the show feel bigger having that live audience available to them.
At the beginning of the pandemic, AEW wrestlers and staff sat around ringside to serve as the crowd for television. Tony Khan revealed in a previous interview with AEW Unrestricted that he took inspiration from “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to have staff fill in as fans.