AEW SVP Chris Harrington: "We're Actively Working All The Time To Bring More Fans To Wrestling"

"We're trying to listen"

All Elite Wrestling has performed well in the ratings in recent months and Dynamite is often one of the highest-rated shows on cable. TNT are also reportedly very happy with Rampage's ratings in the 10 pm Friday night slot. 

While AEW's ratings have been strong, Dynamite is the least diverse major professional wrestling show on TV, with an audience that is 68 percent white, according to Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics. In comparison, WWE SmackDown's audience is 53 percent white, while Raw is 55 percent white. 

Speaking to Wrestlenomics about how AEW can appeal to a more diverse audience, Senior Vice President Chris Harrington noted the promotion is "actively working all the time to bring more fans to wrestling."

"I don't know if we're missing on that opportunity as much as we're actively working all the time to bring more fans to wrestling. I think Tony Khan would say, he has brought in a lot of incredibly talented diverse faces and given them prominent roles on our shows -- they have earned prominent roles on our show because he has great interest in reflecting all of that. Whether it's a match with Red Velvet with Jade Cargill, we're developing new opportunities, which is great. TNT also has the NBA, which has a very large African American population that watches regularly. We're on a network that addresses a lot of people that they do have," Harrington began. 

"On top of that, I would say the community initiative that we're working on right now, when Mark Henry came on board, it's been very interesting getting to know him. He would just tell you, 'I go to these Boys & Girls clubs in the city and I tell them about AEW. I say now it's your turn to show up. I'm inviting you. I'm making the effort to come see you.' Especially in people of colour, that's something Mark is passionate about. He's like, 'I want all these communities to feel they are being represented and being seen and that diversity and acceptance is part of this.' For me, when I have a brand or advertiser say, 'I saw Sonny Kiss, that was really cool.' Okay, it connects and makes sense to somebody here, this opportunity to highlight or spotlight this person that maybe would not have gotten that opportunity in another company or other places. I love that," he continued.

"We'll continue to grow our share of audience of all people. It's something we think about and care about. We do think there have maybe not been as many opportunities given to everybody equally and it's good to give them that and opportunities of mentorship and discussion. It's great to have leaders like Mark who can say, 'this is what life has been like for me in my career and this is what this experience is like' and to have those serious chats and certainly when we put a Black Lives Matter thing before one of our Dynamites, we had a lot of people say terrible things to us after that. Tony's response was really simple, 'Forget them. I have no interest in you if you're offended by that. I'm making a statement.' He himself, as someone who is a child of an immigrant, is from a Pakistani father, that says a lot about his experience and it's important to give people these opportunities and we reach out to people and say what's happening. We're trying to listen."

H/T to Fightful

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Twitter: @theaidangibbons