Consistently falling viewing figures across all television programming could see AEW and WWE forced to settle for less valuable television deals than expected.
Both AEW and WWE are set to begin negotiating new deals for their programming in the not too distant future and bumper deals had been expected. However, that confidence now appears to be decreasing.
Writing in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer noted that the “economics of sports as well as professional wrestling,” have become “more and more questionable” in the past year. He added that what had been a “slow erosion” of people not having access to major cable stations has increased rapidly.
Huge TV Deals For AEW And WWE Looking Less Likely
This could potentially have a huge knock-on effect when it comes to future television deals. The report states that the continual decline in homes having access to USA, TNT and TBS will inevitably lead to a drop in viewership to some degree. As a result, even if viewing figures for wrestling are stable, the stations themselves are not.
“With lower overall viewership of stations, and fewer homes, both ad sales will be down as will carriage fees, which are what the cable companies, way down in revenue, pay to the stations for the rights to air the shows.”
Continuing on, Meltzer surmises that both WWE and AEW many now not get the huge increases in fees they were expecting. Although WWE’s strong brand name will work in their favour, the increases are “far less of a lock” than they had been previously.
“Both companies were also expecting big increases when the new deals would be negotiated because of how strong they are as compared to other programming. It may still happen for WWE with its brand name, and perhaps for AEW, but it is far less of a lock than it seemed a few months ago.”
Furthermore, Meltzer also cites an analysis conducted by Morgan Stanley of FOX’s deal to broadcast SmackDown. This found that “there are not enough wrestling fans to justify” what FOX paid in order to host the show. As a result the deal is costing the network well over $100 million per year, with the losses only expected to get worse.