This week the wrestling world was shocked to hear the news that Spike TV will not renew Impact Wrestling’s television deal. TNA has been a steady source of first run programming for the network. Drawing between 1 million to 1.4 million viewers each week it was one of Spike’s highest rated shows. Now the question is what’s next for TNA as a company. Will they be able to survive until they get another home?
We have seen a similar situation happen to ECW and that led to the demise of the organization. Wrestling have seen Ring of Honor survive with a strong internet following until Sinclair purchased the company after their HDNet partnership fell apart. One thing that TNA has going for it is they have a parent company in Panda Energy that could finance them through this transition. The question is does Dixie’s mom and dad want to throw even more money at Impact until they get back on their feet?
Now it was rumored recently that Panda was looking to unload TNA and had interested buyers. The company has made a lot cuts and parted ways with top talent over money. Some of the investors may feel company that was losing money with a television rights deal may not be worth holding to. The next 8 weeks will all about survival. Why I don’t think it may be hard for Impact to find a home they are working on short notice.
Some fans have played the fantasy game and speculated that the WWE may step in buy TNA. I can safely say that is not going to happen. The WWE is not even interested in most the talent on the TNA roster. Hence they could afford to buy anybody they actually wanted from there even before the company fell on hard times. The biggest sports entertainment company in the world is focused on expanding its network project and developing talent in their NXT branch. Now they may be interested in the TNA’s tape library because they are the gate keepers of the history the wrestling business. They also could use some of that footage to put together a nice Sting or Kurt Angle DVD package. The reports of the number being at 500,000 are probably not true. Pretty sure the WWE will let that price hit rock bottom.
The question is not can TNA survive but will they? Is Panda healthy enough to keep the company floating during the transition? How soon can Dixie find her pet project a new TV home? I am sure that are more than a few networks out there that would love to take a million plus of steady viewers. One of the challenges going forward will be for them to try to convert those viewers to house show ticket buyers and PPV purchasers. Hopefully TNA can still be around by the end of 2014.
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr