AEW President and CEO Tony Khan previously spoke with Forbes, where it was mentioned that Tony Khan’s father, AEW lead investor Shahid Khan, told Forbes he did not think AEW was a good idea at first, but since he knew he was leaving Tony Khan and his sister a lot of money when he leaves, Shahid Khan felt that they should just blow some of the money while he is still alive. It was also mentioned that they invested an eight-figure sum of money in the development of their video games, which for now has kept AEW in the red and not profitable.
Tony Khan recently spoke with Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com, where he revealed that the money AEW had invested in the development of their video games is amounting to $20 million. Khan also discussed how the wrestling side of things is profitable this year and how their PPV numbers are ahead of anybody’s projections. Khan then talked about him making a huge investment in video games and how people try to take negative things out of positive things as well as how comical people can be.
This is what Tony Khan said:
“I know the wrestling end is profitable this year.” “We’re going to make money in wrestling this year because of our great partnerships. Our pay-per-views are way ahead of anybody’s projections. They’re all up year over year. So far, our two biggest pay-per-view events we’ve ever done have been the two we’ve done in 2021. They’re both up year over year in a major way. Going back to live events with great advanced sales and the big things we’re doing like this announcement of AEW Dynamite Grand Slam in New York. The week before, the huge crowd we’ve already got over 9,000 tickets sold in Newark and we’ll definitely sell over 10,000 tickets. I expect to sell out Newark also the week before we’re here and just love the schedule as we go into all out this summer. It’s a great time to talk about it, so to your point, we’ve got this great wrestling operation.”
“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.”
Tony Khan then talked about how he doesn’t want to take AEW public like WWE as he cares so much about the company that he does not want to bleed it dry. Khan also said that he is a people person, so even though he cares about running a profitable business, he also takes a lot of pride in the fact that he didn’t fire people during the pandemic.
This is what Tony Khan said:
“The huge market cap this company would potentially have if I had any interest in taking it public, which I don’t.” “I care about the company so much, and it is a great asset, but I don’t see it as an asset to leverage or try and squeeze every dollar out of it. I’m a people person. So I would say this honestly, like I care about running a profitable business, but I also take a lot of pride in the fact that I didn’t lay people off through the pandemic. Almost everybody, we have a over 95% retention rate of people through the pandemic and I actually had significantly higher than 95%. Almost everybody that we started with is here. Not only that, but we’ve added so many people through the pandemic and expanded and grown in the past year in so many ways. I’m not trying to cut back at all. I want to grow the company and invest in people now with the fans coming back is a great time to do that.”
“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.”
Tony Khan then talked about how 2022 will be a huge year for the company as first they expect to have continued growth especially with the launch of Rampage. Khan also talked about how people are pulling out and cutting back and not investing during the pandemic, while he made an investment in people and also in video games. Khan then talked about how they’re going to deliver a great game for people next year and that they are going to make a ton of money. Khan also said wrestling was very profitable for them this year and by next year, they will be very profitable on all things.
This is what Tony Khan said:
“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.”