The All Elite Wrestling (AEW)-Turner deal is now “virtually done,” a person with knowledge of the plan tells TheWrap exclusively. Current plans call for the partnership to be announced through select press one hour before WarnerMedia’s Wednesday upfront event, the individual said. The arrangement made between the parties called for a small group of reporters to be informed of the agreement on an embargoed basis the evening before.
AEW president Tony Khan and some of his wrestlers are expected to be in attendance at the Madison Square Garden — the mecca of professional wrestling — pitch to media buyers, the person told us. The presentation begins at 10 a.m. New York City time.
Current plans call for Turner to begin airing a weekly AEW wrestling show this fall on TNT.
Financial terms of the deal are not expected to be disclosed as AEW is not a publicly traded company. The leader in the space, WWE, is.
When reached, a spokeswoman for Turner declined to comment on this story. A rep for AEW has not responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Last month, TheWrap reported that All Elite Wrestling and Turner were in advanced talks for a TV deal. At the time, negotiations made it unclear whether or not an agreement would be in place by next week’s upfront, which is when television networks debut their new fall shows for advertisers.
The first person to report AEW’s planned affiliation with the WarnerMedia upfront was a Twitter user who goes by FrontRowBrian:
-BREAKING- @WarnerMediaGrp aka Turner Sports (TNT, TBS) will present @AEWrestling at their upfronts to advertisers next month. WarnerMedia/Turner upfronts are currently scheduled for May 15th. This is how Networks announce their content lineup for the fall season to advertisers.
— The Fight Oracle (@fightoracle) April 10, 2019
Since then, complex negotiations put hopes for the upfront in jeopardy, our individual with knowledge of the talks had told us. We now know the details of the public rollout plan, which was finalized on Wednesday.
WarnerMedia has since provided media with tip sheets listing the talent planned for its upfront “blue carpet,” but AEW was not represented on those versions.
Turner, a WarnerMedia property, is now owned by AT&T. AEW is backed financially by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, Tony Khan’s father.
Though AEW has still only had one big show to date, its growing roster is impressive. Founded by wrestlers Cody and tag-team The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson), the company has signed Chris Jericho, Pac (formerly Neville in WWE) and Kenny Omega to wrestle, among others, as well as WWE legend Jim Ross on commentary.
AEW’s next big event is May 25’s “Double or Nothing” in Las Vegas. The show will be available as a pay-per-view purchase in the UK via ITV Box Office. We are awaiting the announcement of a stateside platform for the event. Previously, our sourcing indicated that “Double or Nothing” would not be a part of the Turner deal.
TNT’s primary competitor, USA Network, currently airs WWE’s “Raw” on Mondays and “SmackDown Live” on Tuesdays. However, “SmackDown” is heading to Fox’s broadcast network this fall, when it will switch to Fridays.
(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story listed YouTube, Twitter and Facebook as streaming options for the “Double or Nothing” event. Those platforms are for specific pre-show events. TheWrap regrets the error.)