Antony Rafiq Khan[2] (born October 10, 1982) is an American businessman, promoter, and sports executive known for his involvement in American football, professional wrestling and football. He is a co-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL) and Premier League club Fulham.[3] Khan is also the founder, co-owner, president, and CEO of the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) promotion.[4] As of 2022, Tony Khan is also the owner of Ring of Honor (ROH). Tony is the son of businessman Shahid Khan, who purchased the Jaguars in 2011 and Fulham in 2013.

Tony Khan
Tony Khan 2021 (cropped).jpg
Khan in December 2021
Born
Antony Rafiq Khan

(1982-10-10) October 10, 1982 (age 39)
NationalityAmerican
CitizenshipAmerican
EducationUni High (High School)
Alma materUIUC (B.S. Finance)
Occupation
  • Businessman
  • Sports executive
  • Professional wrestling promoter
Known for
Parent(s)

Early life

Tony Khan was born on October 10, 1982, in Urbana–Champaign, Illinois, United States,[5] to Pakistani-American billionaire father, Shahid Khan, and an American mother, Ann Carlson.[6] He also has a sister Shanna Khan. Tony graduated from the University Laboratory High School in 2001 and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance.[5]

Business ventures

American football and soccer

Jacksonville Jaguars

Khan joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as co-owner in July 2012,[7] following his father's purchase of the team, and currently serves as Senior Vice President of Football Technology & Analytics.[8][9]

Fulham F.C.

On February 22, 2017, Khan was named as co-owner and Vice Chairman/Director of Football Operations of Fulham F.C.[10] He oversees the identification, evaluation, recruitment, general maintenance and signing of players for Fulham.[3][11] Khan assumed these responsibilities following a period of advising the football operations at the club, particularly in the areas of analytics and research.

Professional wrestling

All Elite Wrestling

In late 2018, Khan, who is a lifelong avid fan of professional wrestling,[12][13][14] filed for several trademarks for a new venture that was shortly thereafter confirmed to be a new professional wrestling promotion, All Elite Wrestling (AEW).[15] Khan and his father, auto parts billionaire Shahid Khan, are the promotion's lead investors.[16][17] The company was officially announced on January 1, 2019, along with its first event, Double or Nothing, which took place on May 25, 2019, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Khan serves as president and CEO of AEW.[18]

On April 25, 2019, Khan revealed the five-year plan for AEW where he stated: "The 5-year plan for AEW is firstly, to have built up a brand, secondly to have built up a roster and thirdly, to have established AEW as a top brand in wrestling for an audience who desire fast-paced exciting action and want a product that is more of a sporting based product."[19]

On May 1, 2020, Khan talked about the creative process in AEW and how he grants creative freedom to the AEW talent wrestlers on the roster. At the same time, he does not want to write dialogue that is not believable for a specific wrestler, saying he would never hand a wrestler a piece of paper and tell them to memorize six paragraphs to recite. Khan singled out Darby Allin as a prime example of a talented performer that needs to speak in his own words, saying: "I can't speak for Darby Allin, nobody can but Darby."[20] Khan has also stated: "I'm deep in the weeds. I write shows, lay out a large percentage of the stories, approve any and every segment that goes on the air, and I don't just sit around and wait for people to pitch ideas to me."[21] The Executive Vice Presidents of AEW, The Young Bucks, have clarified that Khan has the final say on AEW creative and booking,[22] and that even though the other Executive Vice Presidents of AEW, Kenny Omega, Young Bucks themselves, and Cody Rhodes have had a lot of creative freedom for their own matches and segments, and have a "back and forth creative flow" with Khan, Khan has the final say on everything.[23]

In June 2021, Khan made another statement on the AEW business perspective, saying: "I don't want to be the next 'blank' wrestling company of the past—fill in the blank ... . We love wrestling of the past, wrestling of the present and wrestling of the future... That's what gives us a great chance to retain and gain audience share, ... I'm glad that WCW failed because it created a vacancy for us to come in and succeed ... but it made it a fairly bleak period for the wrestling business."[24][25]

On September 3, 2021, during an AEW media call, Khan further clarified that "not one person on the roster has creative control".[26] Khan further stated: "It's not like WCW and that is one of the issues with WCW ... . When you have a person who has creative control in their contract, it can hold up the show. I don't know how you get through TV doing that."[26] Khan then added: "Just because nobody has a contractual right to tell me 'you can't make me do that, you can't put me in that match,' doesn't mean I want to put people in bad situations or do things that don't make sense to them or for their career or for the fans."[27]

Acquisition of Ring of Honor

On the March 2, 2022 episode of AEW Dynamite, Khan announced that he had acquired professional wrestling promotion Ring of Honor (ROH) from Sinclair Broadcast Group.[28] The acquisition includes ROH assets such as the promotion's video library, brand assets, intellectual property, production equipment and more. [29] Khan also announced that he intends to make the ROH library available to the public in its entirety.[30][31] It was later clarified through a press release issued by Khan's Twitter account that the acquisition would be made through an entity wholly-owned by Khan, resulting in the purchase being made separately from AEW.[32] On March 6, 2022, Khan revealed that he planned to keep ROH running as a separate entity from AEW, and also indicated that ROH could possibly be used as a developmental brand for AEW.[33]

Other business ventures

Khan is the owner and chairman of TruMedia Networks,[34][35] a Boston-based engineering firm specializing in innovative sports analytics solutions for leagues, franchises, and media partners across the athletic sports industry. Khan acquired TruMedia Networks in 2015, and under his ownership, the company has expanded its sports analytics engineering services, with clients including ESPN, the NFL, Zebra Technologies, and over 60 percent of all Major League Baseball clubs.[36][37]

Along with TruMedia Networks, Khan and his family helped fund Activist Artists Management, a talent management and advisory firm founded in 2018.[38] Khan made a significant investment in the firm, and separately established the Activist content and venture fund focused on investments in media, entertainment, hospitality as well as consumer products, services, and technologies.[39] As an entertainment company it seeks to protect and build all aspects of an artist's career while leveraging their authentic voice and related platform in an effort to effect positive change. Activist, steered by industry leaders Bernie Cahill and Gregg Suess, provides comprehensive management services for its clients including music management, talent and brand management, and film and TV development.[40]

Reception and legacy

Khan's work with All Elite Wrestling has granted him the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Promoter of the Year award in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and the Best Booker in 2020 and 2021. PWInsider's Mike Johnson said in 2021 "There's no argument Khan and AEW changed the culture of pro wrestling over the last few years".[41] Former professional wrestling promoter and former vice president of WCW, Eric Bischoff has praised Khan stating he has "real appreciation for a very high level of passion in Tony...and clearly he's a very smart guy, he's been very successful in business... far more likely to be successful than I possibly would've given... credit for... but hearing his real, genuine passion for the business probably impressed me more than anything".[42]

Many AEW employees have offered praise for Khan. Chris Jericho stated that "Tony is very driven and he's very passionate and he knows what he wants... He's not a pushover in any way shape or form. I think that's kind of a misconception for people 'Tony Khan is a money mark and he doesn't know anything.' He does know",[43] and "There is no argument. If Tony likes it, then let's do it. If he doesn't, then think of something else. A wrestling company needs that".[44] Jim Ross lauded Khan as "a very talented guy and he motivates talent very well".[45] Likewise, Jon Moxley praised Khan as being "a really smart guy", adding: "I think he's a friend to a most everybody in the roster, real easy and approachable, and not in a bad way", and "he's got a lot of business sense. He's business savvy, but also just an incredibly passionate wrestling fan".[46] Britt Baker noted that "He can step on the other side and watch wrestling as a fan, and say, 'Is this something that I would enjoy?' versus is this something that's going to benefit his company, one way or another. I think what's so special... just Tony's passion for professional wrestling".[47] Matt Hardy echoed Moxley's comments regarding approachability, stating that Khan is more accessible than WWE promoter Vince McMahon,[48] while also praising his booking abilities, stating that he "really respects the AEW wrestling fans, and he does everything he can to not insult their intelligence."[49] Adam Cole has also praised Khan stating "He has such a love and passion for pro wrestling.. I’ll say is contagious..You can tell that he breathes this stuff".[50] Likewise, Malakai Black described Khan as "a very enthusiastic and spontaneous individual. He has an incredible amount of love for what he does".[51]

In 2020, Khan was called a "clown" by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher for tweeting critical comments of Fulham players, and described the transfer history of Khan as "a right mess".[52][53] Khan's comments angered manager Scott Parker,[54] who described the situation as "the world we live in".[55] Fulham were relegated at the end of the season.[56] Also in 2020, former Jacksonville Jaguars player Yannick Ngakoue referred to Khan as "spoiled".[57]

In December 2021, Khan came under fire for comments responding to released wrestler Big Swole's allegations of deficits in structure, as well as lack of diversity; in response, Khan stated that he "let Swole's contract expire as [he] felt her wrestling wasn't good enough."[58]

Filmography

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2021 Rhodes To The Top Himself

Awards

References

  1. ^ Lee, Allen (September 3, 2020). "How Tony Khan Achieved a Net Worth of $7 Billion". Money Inc.
  2. ^ "FULHAM FOOTBALL CLUB LIMITED Company number 02114486". Companies House - GOV.UK. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Tony Khan". Fulham F.C. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  4. ^ Currier, Joesph (January 1, 2019). "ALL ELITE WRESTLING AND DOUBLE OR NOTHING OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED". Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Tony Khan". MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  6. ^ Ganguli, Tania. "Shahid Khan has true rags to riches American story". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  7. ^ Ryan O'Halloran (September 12, 2015). "Tony Khan, Shad's son, using passion for analytics, football to help build Jaguars". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  8. ^ Doug Farrar (May 14, 2014). "Jacksonville Jaguars used scouting and stats in harmony during 2014 NFL draft". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  9. ^ Sam Farmer (April 27, 2018). "As soon as NFL draft ends, it's a free-for-all in pursuit of undrafted players who could make a difference". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  10. ^ Ryan O'Halloran (February 23, 2017). "Tony Khan to run Fulham operations, but remain in Jaguars' front office". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  11. ^ Rohan, Tim (October 4, 2017). "24 Hours With... Jaguars Owner Shad Khan". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  12. ^ Dator, James (January 9, 2019). "WWE is seeing its first major competition in 20 years, and they're worried". SBNation.com. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  13. ^ "Fulham owners Shad and Tony Khan announce launch of wrestling company". Metro. January 8, 2019. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  14. ^ "Tony Khan Confirmed As 'All Elite Wrestling' President; Cody Rhodes & Young Bucks' Roles Revealed". ProWrestling.com. January 2, 2019. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  15. ^ "Who is Tony Khan? Meet the Owner of AEW". www.sportskeeda.com. January 9, 2019. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  16. ^ Joyner, KC (January 8, 2019). "Jaguars owners backing new wrestling venture". ESPN. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  17. ^ Nason, Josh (January 8, 2019). "Shad Khan confirmed as lead investor in All Elite Wrestling". F4wonline. Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  18. ^ Currier, Joesph (January 1, 2019). "All Elite Wrestling and Double or Nothing officially announced". Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  19. ^ "Man with a Plan AEW: Tony Khan reveals five-year plan for All Elite Wrestling and what they'll do differently to WWE". talksport.com. April 25, 2019. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  20. ^ "Tony Khan Talks About AEW Talent Having Creative Freedom". May 1, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  21. ^ "Tony Khan addresses his creative role in AEW". May 3, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  22. ^ "The Young Bucks: Tony Khan Has Final Say On AEW Booking". November 26, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  23. ^ "Details On How Much Involvement Tony Khan Has In AEW Creative, Which Wrestlers Have A Say". January 9, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  24. ^ Tucker, Hank (June 15, 2021). "Meet All Elite Wrestling's Tony Khan, The Next Lord Of The Ring". Forbes. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  25. ^ "Tony Khan On AEW Success, Cody Rhodes Talks AEW Creative, & More". PWMania.com. June 15, 2021. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  26. ^ a b Stephens, Chris (September 3, 2021). "Tony Khan Says Nobody in AEW Has 'Creative Control'". sescoops.com. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  27. ^ "Tony Khan Says Nobody In AEW Has 'Creative Control'". September 3, 2021. Retrieved September 5, 2021.
  28. ^ Raimondi, Marc (March 2, 2022). "Tony Khan, AEW CEO and son of Jaguars owner, acquires wrestling promotion Ring of Honor". ESPN. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  29. ^ Konuwa, Alfred (March 2, 2022). "Tony Khan Announces Purchase Of Ring Of Honor". Forbes. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  30. ^ Raimondi, Marc (March 2, 2022). "Tony Khan, AEW CEO and son of Jaguars owner, acquires wrestling promotion Ring of Honor". ESPN. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  31. ^ Gunier, Robert (March 2, 2022). "AEW And Tony Khan Release Official Statement On ROH Purchase". Forbes. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  32. ^ Robert Gunier (March 2, 2022). "AEW And Tony Khan Release Official Statement On ROH Purchase". Wrestling Inc. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  33. ^ Sean Reuter (March 7, 2022). "Tony Khan talks ROH plans, William Regal's role in AEW". Cageside Seats. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  34. ^ "Kendrick Lamar, Aly Raisman And Jake Paul Join Speaker Lineup For 2017 Forbes Under 30 Summit, October 1-4, Boston". Forbes. September 26, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  35. ^ Eric Fisher (April 18, 2018). "Fox Sports Giving NFL "TNF" Equal Footing To Sunday Games". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  36. ^ "Our Story". TruMedia Networks. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  37. ^ Zach Slaton (June 14, 2012). "Changing How We View the Game: ESPN's Stats & Information Group". Forbes. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  38. ^ Tatiana Siegel (April 3, 2018). "Management Shake-Up: Two ROAR Founders Exit to Form New Company". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  39. ^ Melinda Newman (April 3, 2018). "Roar Co-Founders Bernie Cahill And Greg Suess Exit to Form Activist Artists Management: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  40. ^ "Tony Khan CHIEF FOOTBALL STRATEGY OFFICER". August 5, 2021. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  41. ^ Johnson, Mike (February 26, 2021). "Two best shows of 2020, the Khans, WWE freezing salaries, MIZ getting the WWE title back & more".
  42. ^ "Eric Bischoff on If He Has More Respect For Tony Khan After They Spoke, The Possibility Of Working For AEW". July 19, 2020. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  43. ^ "Chris Jericho On Differences Between Working For Tony Khan And Vince McMahon, Khan's Leadership Style In AEW". September 18, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  44. ^ "Chris Jericho explains what makes Vince McMahon & Tony Khan completely different bosses". April 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  45. ^ "Jim Ross explains why Tony Khan is the best boss he's had". December 12, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  46. ^ "Jon Moxley talks about Tony Khan". May 2, 2020. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  47. ^ "BRITT BAKER THINKS TONY KHAN BEING A WRESTLING FAN 'DEEP DOWN' MAKES AEW SPECIAL". June 26, 2021. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  48. ^ "Matt Hardy Explains The Differences Between Vince McMahon And Tony Khan". December 21, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  49. ^ "Matt Hardy Explains The Differences Between Vince McMahon And Tony Khan". December 21, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  50. ^ "Tony Khan Says He 'Always Dreamed' Of Having Adam Cole In AEW". September 11, 2021. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  51. ^ "Malakai Black Compares Working For Tony Khan & Vince McMahon". August 11, 2021. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  52. ^ Glendenning, Barry (September 29, 2020). "Fulham and the need to post criticism on Social Media Disgrace Twitter". The Guardian. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  53. ^ Malata, Chisanga (September 29, 2020). "Jamie Carragher's brutal put down of 'clown' Fulham chief after Aston Villa thrashing". Daily Mirror. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  54. ^ Storey, Daniel (October 2, 2020). "Fulham are making the same mistakes all over again and that's not even their greatest crime". i. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  55. ^ Ehantharajah, Vithushan (September 29, 2020). "Scott Parker burdened by Tony Khan as Fulham scramble to avoid embarrassment". The Independent. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  56. ^ Ouzia, Mailk (May 10, 2021). "Scott Parker 'gutted' after Fulham relegated: 'We've fallen short at this level - there's no denying it'". Evening Standard. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  57. ^ "Jaguars' Tony Khan, DE Yannick Ngakoue get into Twitter feud". April 20, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  58. ^ "Big Swole Says Lack Of Diversity And Structure Led To Her Leaving AEW, Tony Khan Responds | Fightful News". www.fightful.com. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
  59. ^ a b Meltzer, Dave. "March 1, 2021, Wrestling Observer Newsletter 2020 awards issue, Elimination Chamber". Figure4Weekly. Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved February 26, 2021.

External links