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AEW's Multi-Million Dollar Financial Losses Revealed

According to the estimates of Wrestlenomics' Brandon Thurston, AEW will incur a financial loss of around $34 million in 2023.


This is despite the promotion generating $154 million in estimated revenue, up from the previous year's $100 million. Nonetheless, Brandon Thurston believes that while AEW doubling the value of its television rights deal would keep the promotion in the red, it at least makes the Tony Khan-helmed group sustainable.


Brandon Thurston's approximations have AEW bringing in around $68 million in United States television revenue, $19.4 million in ticket sales, and $34 million in ticket sales. Amongst the company's notable expenses are estimated talent compensation of $85 million (based on an average of $450,000 annually per wrestler).


Per Brandon Thurston:


“Simply subtracting expenses ($188 million) from revenue ($154 million) gives us EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of $34 million in losses for the year."


Continuing, Brandon Thurston noted that AEW's sustainability likely depends on landing a "sufficient" media rights deal from current partners Warner Bros. Discovery:


“Ultimately it probably comes down to whether WBD wants to continue to be in the wrestling business. AEW isn’t a sustainable business unless it gets a sufficient media deal from WBD. Again, that means paying about $140 million per year for AEW throughout the late 2020s. And if they don’t want to continue to be in the wrestling business, what do they program in AEW’s current time slots that the conglomerate views as a preferable strategic option? That answer isn’t clear. AEW’s ratings are down but not so low that it’s clear rerun sitcoms and movies are a better option,” he wrote."


On yesterday's ROH Final Battle 2023 media call, Tony Khan claimed a "really exciting relationship" with WBD, whom he had "really good talks" with earlier that day:


“We’ve had really good talks with Warner Brothers Discovery, had a great visit with them today and we have a really exciting relationship that has grown a lot over the years and has expanded for AEW."


AEW's five-year broadcasting partnership with WBD is currently up for re-negotiation - and is due to expire in December 2024.

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