We’ve made it clear time and again on The Big Lead that we are rooting hard for AEW to succeed both in its own right, and as a competitive vessel to push WWE towards more creative storytelling. We’re excited for their weekly show to launch on TNT in primetime in the fall, and for really everything that’s coming.
That being said, if this tweet from B/R Live’s verified support account is accurate, and AEW’s Double or Nothing costs $49.99, that is going to be a very tricky proposition for drawing the casual audience:
The wrestling blog Cageside Seats noted that reports indicate the PPV would cost an additional $10 on television.
From a revenue maximization standpoint, this is an understandable price-point. Would they really sell twice as many PPVs if it cost $25, or five times as many if it cost $10 like the WWE Network? Probably not, but I’d argue that there exists a midpoint ($30-40?) where more casual viewers would sample the product and get converted into long-term customers.
If you’ve been living under a rock, AEW is the new wrestling venture launched by Tony Khan of the Jaguars’ ownership family, with Cody Rhodes, the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, Jim Ross, and a number of talented up-and-coming performers. It promises to be a very compelling product.
There no doubt exist many die hard wrestling fans, starved for a bona fide national alternative to WWE, who will order this show at this rate. I’m one of them. There will also be some more people who whet the curiosity factor. Nevertheless, $50 is a lot for this event and it does, at least a little, ratchet down one’s enthusiasm when you start to calculate how much this new company will cost us per year.
While we’re here, one other thing that bears mentioning is that at this price AEW and AT&T are going to be in for massive headaches if there are point-of-sale and/or buffering issues with the stream like there were when B/R Live aired Tiger vs. Phil on Thanksgiving weekend. This event cost $19.99, and once there were issues the paywall was taken down and Turner wound up issuing a refund for everyone who ordered it.