Tony Khan Discusses Wrestling Tribalism, Says It’s Not Unlike What’s Happening In Pro Sports
Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling (via YouTube)
Tony Khan says tribalism goes on in other circles besides professional wrestling.
Tony Khan appeared on the Wrestling Perspective Podcast and was asked about his view on how tribalism has changed wrestling. Khan said one thing that led to those views is the shrinking television audience, and he noted that there are still some fans that enjoy both companies, but it’s not something that’s specific to pro wrestling.
“I understand it. There used to be more of a broad base of people watching wrestling and now it’s really, like all of television, it’s hardcore fans. It makes what the National Football League does that much more impressive because the audience for the NFL has grown while the audience for TV has shrunk and shrunk and shrunk, because the TV audience goes down 9 percent a year. It went down 9 percent last year, it went down 9 percent the year before, it’s down 18 percent over the last two years, and the wrestling ratings are very steady compared to everything else and the NFL is up.
“So, while other shows are mostly down 18 percent or more over the two years, and while the audience for TV has changed, all things have become more hardcore audience-based and that’s part of it. But, it’s also like sports. Sports online is very tribalistic and fans of sports are very quick to say what they’re a fan of and what they’re not a fan of. There’s a lot of people that like both [AEW and WWE] and just aren’t making a lot of noise and the people who are making a lot of noise are the people who feel strongly one way or another, whether they really like AEW or they like our competition but it’s not altogether dissimilar to what’s happening in all of pro sports.
“I think it’s overall a good thing that there’s all these fans that are dedicated to their shows, but in the Monday Night Wars there were people online who felt really strongly one way or the other, and frankly just as the thing went on and on, more of them moved towards the WWF. But that was a symptom of a lot of things, they did some things really, really well and obviously, in 1998-1999 that was the show that was giving people wanted to see in the 90s, so that’s why things trended that way, I think. But in terms of tribalism, it’s something that’s been around for a long time and it’s a big part of sports.”
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