Numlock Sunday: Kim Bhasin on what an upstart wrestling promotion says about the media ecosystem
By Walt Hickey
Welcome to the Numlock Sunday edition.
This week I spoke to Kim Bhasin, who wrote A Billionaire’s Son Battles a Turbulent WWE Over the Future of Pro Wrestling for Bloomberg Businessweek. Here's what I wrote about it:
There’s a new fresh babyface in wrestling in the form of the All-Elite Wrestling, an upstart competitor to the WWE juggernaut staked by the scion of billionaire Khan family, worth $7.6 billion. AEW’s got a television contract worth $175 million that expires by the end of the year, with an option for 2024. By comparison, WWE made $1.1 billion in revenue last fiscal year. Wrestling is a bright spot in the world of linear television, and upon re-upping their deals both promotions are expected to continue to make a lot more money. Still, WWE has reason to fret: AEW’s viewership is up, at times reaching about half the audience of WWE’s top shows. The promotion sought to emphasize the wrestling more than WWE, which has faced critiques for prioritizing soap-opera st…