NEWS UPDATE: AEW Dynamite TV ratings; Tony Khan media call

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Tony Khan media call: Bellator, “One Bill Phil”, Collision ratings

Ariel Helwani reported yesterday on the MMA Hour that the Khan family is among the potential buyers who have “looked into” Bellator, which is owned by Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS). There were reportedly discussions of a merger of two MMA companies, Bellator and PFL. Helwani said PFL had backed out but has “gotten back into the mix”. He said Liberty Media has also “looked into” buying Bellator. Tony Khan denied the report of his family’s interest in Bellator on today’s media call ahead of Forbidden Door. “I was surprised to see that report. I haven’t had any conversations with them about that, so I don’t know what that was about. My father [Shad Khan] hasn’t had any conversation about that either.” On the debut of AEW Collision on Saturday, CM Punk said that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO, David Zaslav, calls Punk “One Bill Phil”. “We’ve already got nine-figure revenues,” Khan said in the course of his answer to a question about Punk’s line. That would imply AEW generated at least $100 million, presumably annually, which is nearly exactly what my estimate was for AEW’s 2022 annual revenue. “We’re growing and growing and pushing to hit that magic number that Phil referenced,” Khan said, which seemed to indicate he views a $1 billion U.S. TV deal for AEW as attainable. There had previously been inaccurate rumors that AEW signed a new TV deal worth at least $1 billion over five years. Khan called the first Collision TV rating a success. On evaluating future ratings for the show, he said, “I do know that past performance in the time slot would be a good comp.” The P18-49 rating for the debut on TNT was 0.33 with 816,000 viewers total. Reruns of movies largely aired in the Collision time slot previously. According to data from Spoiler TV, the most highly-viewed movies in that slot so far this year have delivered a 0.12 to 0.14 P18-49 rating and 475,000 to 630,000 viewers. We only have data for the rerun telecasts that rank in the top 200 weekly, so presumably the average for movies in the time slot is lower. Sports that have occasionally aired in the time slot have drawn much larger audiences. An NBA conference final playoff game last month between the Celtics and Heat had a 2.96 demo rating and 8.7 million viewers. The NBA All-Star game this year on February 18 had a 1.29 P18-49 rating and 3.4 million viewers. NHL playoffs also aired in the slot this month and last month, delivering between a 0.46 and 0.58 P18-49 rating and between 1.72 million and 1.95 million viewers. It’s highly unlikely Collision is getting close to those numbers, which also explains why Collision is likely to get preempted when those events come around on the calendar again. Khan also denied Punk has an ownership stake in AEW, which is something fans have speculated about in dissecting Punk’s comments during the infamous All Out press conference last September. Punk at one point said, “I’m trying to run a business here.” “That’s just a colloquialism,” Khan said. “I own the business but he’s one of the top stars here and has an interest in AEW being a strong box office business.”

Update on Abrahams v. WWE lawsuit

Lawyers for WWE and former WWE writer Britney Abrahams have agreed to extend the deadline for WWE to respond to Abrahams’ complaint to September 5. Abrahams filed a lawsuit against in April the company and specific WWE personnel, including Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon, alleging race and gender discrimination as well as wrongful termination, among other claims.

TV ratings: AEW Dynamite, June 21

AEW Dynamite last night on TBS, was watched by 902,000 viewers on average, including about 436,000 aged 18 to 49, for a 0.33 P18-49 rating. This was Dynamite’s highest P18-49 viewership since February 22 and only the highest total viewership since June 7. Showbuzz Daily hasn’t reported rankings for Wednesday yet. Compared to last week, Dynamite was up 8% in total viewership. Among viewers 18-49, viewership was up 11%. Viewer counts in thousands for this week’s episode with difference versus the median of the last 28 days in parentheses: P2+: 902 (+3%) P18-49: 436 (+7%) M18-49: 309 (+7%) F18-49: 127 (+4%) P18-34: 169 (-4%) M18-34: 110 (-1%) F18-34: 59 (-6%) P35-49: 267 (+10%) M35-49: 199 (+15%) F35-49: 68 (+16%) Non-P18-49: 466 (+3%) Most-viewed YouTube videos from Dynamite, as of 4pm today: FRIENDS NO MORE? BCC confronts Eddie Kingston & OKADA!: 430,718 BLIND PARTNERS! Adam Cole & MJF will have to learn to team up!: 270,782 STING’S A WHAT?! Chris Jericho calls out Sting for Forbidden Door!: 270,149 Second City MELEE! CM Punk, FTR, & Ricky Starks are looking for a FIGHT!: 236,596 HOLD THE MUSTARD! Jarrett & Mark Briscoe in a WILD Concession Stand Brawl!: 83,713 Orange Dances! Orange & Shibata vs Garcia & ZSJ: 81,636 Guevara, Suzuki, & Jericho vs Andretti, Foxx, & Martin in Trios Action: 74,951 WEDNESDAY NIGHT FEVER! Valkyrie takes on Kris Statlander for TBS Championship| 6/21/23, AEW Dynamite – YouTube: 71,563 IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR! The Hardys take on The Gunns in tag team action!: 70,950 Post-Show Comments From CM Punk, FTR, Bullet Club Gold, Matt Hardy & more: 54,967 This ratings report was written with the assistance of automated programs created by me, then manually edited. Subscribers have exclusive access to the Wrestlenomics Viewership Spreadsheet. Brandon Thurston

Brandon Thurston has written about wrestling business since 2015. He’s also worked as an independent wrestler and trainer.

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