For any pro wrestling company to succeed, international distribution is important. One of the strongest international wrestling markets is in the UK and AEW recently made some waves in that area.
ITV Box Office announced last week they would be the United Kingdom distributor for next week's Double or Nothing pay-per-view. This will include the pre-show and a special documentary that covers the build-up to the event. ITV has long been associated with professional wrestling and that was not something that was lost on AEW President Tony Khan.
"I'm very familiar with World of Sport, some of the characters, and great athletes," Khan said in an interview with ITV. "There are great characters like Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy, there are great historical characters and from a work rate perspective nothing could be completely opposite to that then Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, The Lucha Bros, Cody, Hangman, Chris Jericho of all people, these are the high work rate people that are here at AEW."
Khan added that his ultimate goals are to air pay-per-views like from the U.K. which would air in the U.S. in the afternoon.
"There are a lot of ways we can take this partnership as we expand our programming slate,'' said Khan. "I think we are going to be offering a lot more shows after Double or Nothing. I think the big push is towards Double or Nothing, it is coming up very soon. For the fans in America it's on May 25th, But here (in the UK) it's May 26th with a midnight start of the Buy-In show which is going to be the most widely available, live wrestling special probably ever in the UK given the wide reach ITV and ITV4 have.
"I think something we can offer, I hope we do offer, and I plan to offer is shows here because there is a great fan base here, definitely a proven live audience that will attend the shows, there are great television and PPV audience as well," Khan added. "Plus, there is a great chance to market that content back home to the American fans. If there was a show (in the UK) that had an 8 p.m. start time on pay-per-view at one of the great arenas that we'd like to work with, that's still a very reasonable start time on the weekend (in the US). You could see a 3 p.m. start time on the East Coast, a noon start time (on the West Coast), these are great start times to watch wrestling on a Saturday or a Sunday. In terms of our television, there is a lot of potentials to expand the partnership in a lot of ways."
With WWE being the only other major worldwide wrestling organization, AEW is hoping to provide an alternative product. Khan said that it makes for an exciting time for fans and wrestlers alike.
"I think there has never been a better time to get people into wrestling," Khan said. "Because the product is so good. I think what we are going to offer for free is going to get people enticed to buy the Pay-Per-View. I think what we have going in the Casino Battle Royale is going to show people an exciting, different take on the traditional battle royal format, different than what anybody has done. It's not going to be two hours of battle royals. It's going to be really, really action-packed."
You can listen to Khan's comments above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit ITV with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.