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AEW signs extension with TNT: Two tied into 2023

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AEW and TNT are now tied to each other through 2023, through a deal that will pay All Elite $43.8 million a year, and also involve a second weekly show.

The deal will make AEW profitable in 2020 and in years to come, says Dave Meltzer, the editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Here we are, only three months into Wednesday Night Dynamite, and now we’ve been extended through 2023,” AEW president and CEO Tony Khan said in a press release. “We’re now making the ultimate statement that the team of AEW and TNT is here to stay, and to bring fans more of the great wrestling that the fans demand and deserve.”

For perspective, WWE’s deals with USA, for “Raw,” and Fox, for “Smackdown,” are significantly more lucrative than the new AEW-TNT deal.

USA is paying $265 million a year for “Raw” on Mondays; Fox is in for $205 million annually for “Smackdown.”

USA is also on the hook for a reported $30 million to $50 million a year for NXT, which WWE is using to counterprogram AEW’s “Dynamite.”

To this point, “Dynamite” has been winning the Wednesday Night Wars, outpacing NXT both in total viewers and in the key 18-49 demo.

But it has struggled to build on its early buzz. After drawing more than 1.4 million viewers for its inaugural Oct. 2 episode, “Dynamite” has settled in at the 900,000 mark weekly, which is ahead of what we’re told TNT was looking for at the outset of the project, and you have to presume that the broadcaster is happy, given today’s news.

“When Tony Khan first shared with me his idea of starting a new wrestling league, I was impressed by his audacity to go up against a contender that has been the only game in town for twenty years, and ultimately believed that together we could bring his vision for a new, authentic, gritty product to bear,” says Kevin Reilly, the chief content officer at HBO Max, and the president of TNT, TBS, and truTV.

“The fans have spoken, and after only three months, we have seen AEW shake up the wrestling world and this will only continue as we build upon this momentum,” Reilly said.

Story by Chris Graham

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