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Интервю с Dorian Roldan (AAA general manager)


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Доста интересно интервю с general manager-а на Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide - Dorian Roldan. Рядко има такива интервюта с него, където може да се чуе повече за AAA/Мексико от по-бизнес гледна точка. Dorian говори за новата им тв сделка в Мексико с TV Azteca, сделката им с Televisa преди това, шоуто им в MSG и какво целят с него, NXT Mexico, мексиканската аудитория, конкурентите им CMLL и още. Превод от испански.





On the move from Televisa to TV Azteca: We're very grateful for Televisa and for the time we had with them. We were born with Televisa, we grew up with Televisa and it was a very important to us. Like any relationship, it had its good moments and some not so good ones, but the brand and positioning that AAA has today is due to them. The disadvantage that we had with Channel Nine (Televisa) was that it is a semi-national channel, and that left us out of many very important markets. I am a great believer that free-to-air terrestrial television is still key in the Mexican market and it is still the most important window for any content. We had a golden opportunity with TV Azteca, because it meant going to a channel with national coverage.


On the show moving from Saturdays to Fridays: Originally, the idea was to maintain a timeslot on the weekends, but Rodolfo Ramirez, the General Director of Azteca Deportes, recommended that the show airs on Fridays instead since Friday is traditionally a spot for sports coverage on TV Azteca. He believed that if we put wrestling before football it could be very important. We decided to try, although we are believers that television is about habits, and what has been our goal is to build habits in people.


On their initial relationship with Televisa: At first back in the 90s Televisa covered taping costs, paid us a rights fee and they sold all the sponsorships and adverts. As the years went by they told us 'Hey, we're not going to pay you TV rights anymore, but you can sell your own sponsorships'. At that time we only sold advertising to Corona. And some time later, like in 2000, they told us 'We're not going to cover your taping costs and we won't be paying you a right fee either. From now on you take care of all your expenses.' First we rented a mobile unit from MVS, but in 2002 my uncle [then AAA president Antonio Pena] decided that it's better to have our own mobile unit for production, which was Vicky-1. Televisa did not pay us anything. Televisa only gave us certain minutes of airtime and we had to deliver a program to them. The expenses for the tapings, the post-production, the commentators, everything we now had to pay ourselves.


On having to pay to be on Televisa: In 2013 Televisa made the decision that everyone should leave the air: WWE, CMLL and AAA [Televisa were airing all three at the time]. They were going to send us to the TDN cable channel. I met with the directors of Televisa, telling them that I had sponsorship contracts that specified that we had to be on terrestrial television. It was September of that year. I told them 'Give me an extension between now and December to see what we can do'. And taking into account that the highest percentage of company income came from sponsorships, I told Televisa that in order to stay on the air we will be paying for our own television time. As of 2013 to 2016 we bought airtime from Televisa. That's why we were on Televisa, TDN and everywhere, and it was the moment when neither WWE, nor the CMLL could air on the Televisa channels. In fact, CMLL tried to get on TDN, but since we were paying for the timeslot TDN asked them for payment too and CMLL declined. We kept that, and in 2017 I had in mind that we wanted to get our product to Univision in the States, although I did not know if the television quality we had was good enough for a Univision product, and what I decided was that instead of continuing to use our own mobile units we would start renting again, because we had stayed behind technologically. Then that year we had to pay Televisa not only for the airtime, we had to pay them for all the production, lighting, screens, units, and everything with the hope of being able to put our product on Univision. Long story short, it was a year of negotiations, a lot of money spent, but we did not get to Univision and in Mexico we were still on the same tv schedule.


On their relationship with Televisa in 2018: The relationship was very difficult in 2018. Triplemania XXV drew a great number on Channel 5; TripleMania XXVI did good numbers on Channel 5 and TDN too, but still nothing was changing. Since I had been in contact with many TV Azteca people for years, we sat down to negotiate and we achieved something beneficial for both parties, because we also shared the sponsors. For example, Unefon has more adverts on TV Azteca than on Televisa; Roshfrans does not advertise on Televisa at all, but it does advertise on TV Azteca. Then the planets lined up and we ended up here. Yes, Televisa reacted immediately and signed CMLL. But although CMLL is our competitor, we believe that having two products head to head is something that suits the industry.


On if TV Azteca pays AAA a rights fee: There is a payment of rights. I can not tell you more about it due to issues of confidentiality, but this has changed. Before it was literally a duopoly, Televisa-TV Azteca, and they could control the market, but with the entry of new competitors, such as Fox Sports and ESPN, things have changed and now is another world, where the content of any company is worth money.


On WWE as a competitor to AAA: WWE is an impressive machine, but if you look at the WWE numbers from 2014 to date they have a very clear strategy. Mexico is not a territory that is important to them in terms of income. In fact, Latin America, as a market, is the one that represents them the least. Europe is a very strong market for them, the same as India; what they are doing in the Middle East is crazy. They are not focused on having their product enter one hundred percent in Latin America. And today they have other priorities, such as growing the subscriber base of the WWE Network, knowing how to use all the talent they have and generating more content for their platform.


On WWE potentially starting NXT Mexico: I will welcome it. I believe that competition is always good. I do not doubt that they can open a NXT in Mexico, although they have more strategic markets - they have just held the biggest tryout in China - and they need someone to operate Mexico. Mexico is a very open market, but at the same time we have barriers and business borders. And it would be difficult, not impossible, for them to get a deal with a terrestrial network.


On how Mexican fans would react to NXT Mexico: Depending on what fans you're referring to. There are the hardcore fans, those who know who Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks are, who know NJPW. There are also the casuals, who know the difference between AAA and CMLL, but they have no more knowledge. And then there is the audience in general, which can go to a CMLL Arena Mexico show and think that it's watching a AAA show. The first group is 5%, the second 45%, and the last 50%. And 5% are the ones who know NXT. What we have to try is for that 5% to grow as little as possible. I think it will be very hard for the WWE Network, which is where you can watch NXT, to grow in Mexico, because although the OTT market is growing, you have other priorities before WWE Network, such as Netflix and soon Disney+, and the market that's left for WWE is very small.


On WWE's biggest mistake in Mexico: WWE's biggest mistake in Mexico was that they're no longer on terrestrial television. As I was saying, terrestrial television is still key in Mexico. Joaquin del Rivero (Vice President of WWE for Latin America) is a great operator, he knows the Mexican market very well, but it is difficult without those television contracts. WWE was very successful in Mexico, and that was their biggest sin, because they can not deliver those rating points anymore. Everyone expects those numbers but the market has been reduced.


On AAA's plans for outside of Mexico: My strategy is to leave Mexico. In Mexico we have a certain roof, but if we manage to fill Madison Square Garden and we show American television that AAA is an appetizing product that can generate income, then the sky's the limit. Why do you think the Mexican National Team is going to play in the United States? Because it generates much higher income than in Mexico. And that's what we're looking for with Madison Square Garden. I guess you already know, but WWE has us in their sights. We go to MSG on Sunday September 15 and they go on Monday and Tuesday to present Raw and SmackDown after ten years of not doing them there. And I understand them, but I welcome the competition and we'll see how it goes.


On AEW: What AEW has achieved with the Double or Nothing and what I think they're going to announce means that WWE starts having competition. I do not know what size, because you can not compare a company that generates billions of dollars with another that will invest 100 million in the span of three years. But I do not want to compete head-to-head with WWE. I want to attack the Hispanic market.


On partnerships with other companies: A little while ago I spoke with Joe Koff (ROH), with Ed Nordholm (IMPACT), with Billy Corgan (NWA). WrestleMania weekend is very important, because interesting meetings are held. And what I have always thought is that we should build bridges to work together. Of course we are competitors, but we are friendemies. You need a talent, I have another talent signed with Lucha Underground. What are we fighting for? We better talk with each other and work together. I have done well in that regard. I managed to get Willie Mack to appear with NWA, the Lucha Brothers are with AEW, etc.


On a potential partnership with CMLL: It's amazing that a partnership like this cannot be done in Mexico. This is a way of life that feeds both my family and many more mouths, and that is why I need to find what is best for the business. It's good for me that the CMLL does well on Televisa, because if there is good competition even the sponsors would raise the price, and it will make Televisa pay more, TV Azteca pay more, etc. I imagine it's going to be good for both of us. And if we set up an event together, it would be a great business for everyone involved. What is needed in the industry in general, not only in Mexico, is that we leave the ego aside and that we understand that this is a business, and that as a business we have to take care of it, we have to protect it, we have to strengthen it and maximize it. That is my vision and my philosophy.


On AAA's growth: Many times what people see are the events themselves, but the back office, the people who are behind the scenes working day by day are just as important. Today we hire marketing specialists, sponsorship specialists, specialists in content sales, specialists in each of the areas, and these are the pillars of growth. We are in that process. A game changer will be Madison Square Garden. If we do well, I could tell you that we are far from our ceiling. If we do poorly, we will have to assume a more conservative profile. The pre-sale has not been a four-minute AEW style sellout, because it's the Latin market, and those sales records are not fashionable in that market, but it has been very good considering the noise we've made, which is little in comparison to what we are going to do. We are very excited about this event.


On whether will we see a new AAA video game and a new AAA animated movie: Of course it is all part of what we have in the future, but before that there are other priorities. We started the year very aggressively, giving news one after another: The departure of Televisa, signing with Multimedios, signing with TV Azteca, signing Cain Velasquez for Triplemania, the Madison Square Garden show. We are not rushing anything. We have plans for all of these things. This year we don't have a new movie or a video game, but there are very interesting plans.


On AAA's product and their business philosophy: We strive to be not only a wrestling company. This has been evident in our product since day one. Many companies do not grow because they focus on hurting each other. I do not know a place in the world where promoters fight more than in Monterrey. There they strive to see who loses more money and who will hurt who more. We have a gigantic problem of egos in this industry. We are willing to lose money for ego, and that is a mentality that we must keep changing, and we must understand that this started as a box office business, then box office and sponsorships, and then box office, sponsorships and television rights. We have to see where the road is going and then we must continue through that gap. The only two relevant companies are CMLL and AAA, and if we both put our differences aside we will improve the industry and we will create jobs for a large number of families. I think that is the goal we should have, and specifically in the case of AAA, what we want is to achieve is greater audiences, we want to make the business more professional and more international.



Източник: https://superluchas.com/entrevista-con-dorian-roldan-lucha-libre-aaa-de-cara-al-futuro/

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