Tony Khan On When He Decided To Launch AEW, Recalls Early Conversation With TBS/TNT President

AEW President Tony Khan recently appeared on Locked on NFL, where he talked about a number of topics including when he decided to launch the promotion and how he has had the idea to do so since 2018 after having a brief conversation with then TNT/TBS President Kevin Reilly, who told Khan that he had previously bid on media rights for WWE before WWE ended up on FOX.

Khan said, “It’s something I started working on in 2018. The idea to launch AEW, a lot of things came together, and I believed there were enough great wrestlers that would be available in the beginning of 2019 to launch a wrestling league. In April 2018, I started working on this. I was at a party in Beverly Hills on a Friday night. I saw my friend, who at the time was the President of TBS and TNT [Kevin Reilly]. I walked up to him, I was visiting with him a little bit, and I said, ‘Kevin, are you looking at bidding on wrestling TV rights?’ He was, and he was looking to bid on SmackDown. He told me what he was willing to pay, he said, $150 to $175 million a year. I follow the industry closely, so I knew that it was going to go over $200 million, and it did. I pointed out, ‘I don’t know if that’s going to get it done. For a lot less than that, we could launch a new wrestling league on TNT and eventually TBS, too.’ That’s what happened.“

You can check out the complete podcast below.

(H/T to Fightful for transcribing the above quotes)