AEW CEO Tony Khan Comments on AEW’s Investment in Video Game Division & Criticisms Against It
PWInsider held recent interview with AEW CEO Tony Khan. One of the topics discussed included his thoughts on AEW’s recent eight figures investment in their video games division and online criticisms of it causing the company to be in the red for this year.
“I’ve made this huge investment into video games and it’s comical to me that anybody would try to pull it… it goes to show that I think people will try and take a negative out of a positive sometimes because this is a hugely positive thing. Our wrestling company is very profitable. The only reason I won’t net money this year on AEW in our second full year of operations, which is pretty amazing, frankly, for a startup that has had the level of investment that we’ve had behind AEW and the amount of time that this has been going, that we’ll be significantly profitable already as a venture …
So that anybody would try and draw a negative out of the fact that the wrestling operation is profitable this year, but that the company technically won’t be in the black because I’m making this huge investment into gaming and video games.
In particular, it’s crazy because like that’s going to be an even bigger investment that’s going to pay off huge that I’ve made this huge eight figure investment in video games because that we won’t see any revenue from that until 2022. That’s why it’s not going to pay off in 2021 on our books. For the purposes of the calendar year, that may be true. But in 2022, we’re going to have a huge year, uh, when we start seeing the receipts of the games and we have a great TV contract. We’ll continue to expand and grow as a live events and touring company, but also as a television and pay-per-view company.
I expect we’ll continue to see great growth. And with the launch of Rampage, things are really shaping up for a great 2022 as it will be the first full year of Rampage. So, it’s going to be a huge year for us, but in 2021, I’m making an investment. While a lot of people were pulling out and cutting back and not investing during the pandemic, I made an investment in people and also frankly, a huge investment in video games. I’m an investor in the gaming space, and I think I’ve been a savvy investor. I made a large investment with my family that I pushed my family to make and kind of, along with AEW, I would describe it as one of the two investments where I’ve kind of dragged my dad across the goal line a little bit.
We put $20 million into Epic Games, which looks pretty smart now because it’s worth a lot more than that now. So gaming is something we know a lot about, and I happen to work with very closely a gaming expert by the name of Kenny Omega who’s put together some great ideas and is doing a great job, uh, along with Nick Sobek and a lot of other great people I work with. We’re going to deliver a great game for people next year, and we’re going to make a ton of money. We’ll be very profitable on all things next year. But this year is a profitable wrestling year for us and that’s big and making a big investment in gaming is a good thing. It shows the health and the stability of the company. So it just goes to show that like, if you want to try and draw a negative out of something positive that there’s people on Twitter that will try and do that sometimes.”
Ring of Honor News & Notes
Biz Journals held a recent interview with Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley. One of the topics discussed included if Ring of Honor will be running another event at Madison Square Garden in the future.
“I think in the not-too-distant future most sporting events will be at or near capacity. We’ll have to see with Ring of Honor whether that size event makes sense, but just generally in sports we’re seeing really robust demand and return for near-full facilities.”
Ring of Honor recently announced that tickets for their upcoming two-night Glory By Honor 2021 event will go on sale starting on June 25th for HonorClub members and on July 2nd for the general public.
ROH also announced that Finals of this year’s Survival of the Fittest tournament will take place on this Saturday’s episode of ROH TV.
ROH announced a new match for the card of their Best In The World 2021 event on July 11th in Baltimore, Maryland:
- ROH World Television Championship – Dragon Lee vs. Tony Deppen (c)
ROH also announced two new matches for the cards of their Glory By Honor 2021 event on August 20-21 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
- August 20th – ROH World Championship – Flip Gordon vs. RUSH (c)
- August 21th – La Faccion Ingobernable (RUSH & Dragon Lee) vs. Bandido & Rey Horus
Misc. Wrestling News & Notes
All Japan Pro Wrestling recently announced that Jake Lee, Kento Miyahara, and Yuma Aoyagi will be competing in a Three-Person Battle series of matches for the vacant AJPW Triple Crown Championship at their Champions Night 2021 event on June 26th in Tokyo, Japan.
A GoFundMe fundraiser was recently launched to help financially assist former TNA/Impact Wrestling announcer Don West on his medical costs for his current battle with brain lymphoma.
During a recent interview with the NotSam Wrestling podcast, indie deathmatch wrestler Nick Gage revealed that he is currently working on plans to launch a new podcast series within the near future. Gage stated:
“I have MDKAllDay.com up. We opened up the website and my boy MDK Mike, we turned the site into an apparel company. I had a brainchild when I was [locked up] of what I wanted to do when I came out with my merch. I wanted to make MDK an apparel company and a brand. I went through some guys where I was like, ‘this might be the guy’ and it was like ‘oh, he’s a weirdo, he’s not the guy’ and you have guys who are sneaky with the money. Finally, I make Cali Mike and we turned it into a brand. We’re signing wrestlers and making t-shirts for them. We’re doing shirts, pendants, and we’re going to get this podcast thing opened up too.”
Transcript h/t: Fightful.com
Warrior Wrestling announced a new match for the card of their Stadium Series 2021 event on July 17th in Chicago Heights, Illinois:
- Warrior Wrestling Women’s Championship – Lady Frost vs. Kylie Rae (c)
Major League Wrestling announced a new match for the card of their Battle Riot 2021 event on July 10th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
- Davey Richards vs. TJP