More is slowly emerging about TNA’s status with Spike TV and there’s some logical points we can explore from the fervour.
As noted this week, TMZ ran a story citing numerous sources with “direct knowledge” of the situation that Spike TV would not be renewing IMPACT when the deal expires in October.
Understandably both TNA and Spike TV have stuck to the PR line that “negotiations are ongoing” – technically they are until October. And this could well be the case. However if Spike TV truly wanted to keep TNA around for roughly the same fees they’re paying now, the deal would already be done.
This basically leaves two options.
A) Spike TV simply do not want a wrestling show on the Network any longer and will let the deal expire.
B) Spike TV has lowballed TNA, realizing that after WWE’s poor renegotiation with USA – most cable networks do not want wrestling, and TNA’s newly signed PR firm are at least trying to salvage something.
If IMPACT Is Dead, What Is TNA’s Status?
As noted in the previous article, despite the IWC consensus this is not the end of the company. They have lost millions more than they’ve ever made. It has always been a vanity project / Panda Energy tax write-off. If it was strictly about money the company would have folded years ago. If it wasn’t for the Carter family TNA would never have survived.
It only folds when they decide to let it fold. In which case they would sell off what assets they have left, which would hopefully be enough to settle some of the contracts of the remaining talent.
Without a North American TV deal, like WCW, all they really would have left is the tape library. Their options for selling it would be pretty slim (who wants wrestling re-runs?). Either WWE could pick it up for pennies on the dollar and use some of the crossover footage of stars like Sting for DVDs and the Network, or Panda could potentially continue to maintain the library through Youtube, some kind of Pay to Play platform, or DVDs, and license it out to whoever may want it down the line.
Perhaps the only person who would be interested in the actual brand name would be Jeff Jarrett.
Could Spike TV Buy TNA?
Jim Ross had an interesting take on his blog, about whether Spike TV might actually want to buy the company:
Could Spike be thinking like TBS, Turner Broadcasting Systems, when Jim Crockett Promotions found themselves in financial trouble and TBS bought WCW and perhaps be looking to add a pro wrestling brand to their list of properties? Spike/Viacom recently bought out MMA company Bellator.
Those would be two fresh, first run programs that appeal to a primary male demo and that seems to be the Spike profile or so it seems to me based on their current programming more often than not.
Why would Spike want to get rid of one of the few shows on their network that garners over 1M viewers per week in prime time? That makes no sense to me but Spike negotiating to keep TNA at a lower dollar does.
We’re The Carters and It’s Our Decision
Don’t forget that TNA have operated without a TV deal before, and have been between TV deals before as well. If Spike don’t want them, there will be a network out there somewhere willing to take on a show that always draws over a million viewers every week. It just means TNA won’t be getting the same amount of money in rights fees, and will most likely have less penetration on a national scale (i.e. less homes with the option to watch).
Is syndication and online TV and option – sure – but again it would not be a money maker.
Ultimately it’s down to the Carters. Can they accept an even bigger red hole than they’re already operating in, is it time to scale back the idea that they’re a national promotion and run more sporadically, or do they call it quits and salvage what they can?
They’re the only ones that can answer that question and so far they’re not doing so.
Vince Russo Hate
Obviously the collective hate for Vince Russo has reached an all time high, and nobody involved did themselves any favours by keeping his TNA employment a secret. Did he kill TNA?
… he didn’t help it, put it that way. Nobody has significantly grown the bottom line or ratings over the promotion’s existence on national TV. Not Jeff Jarrett, not Russo, not Scott D’Amore, not Dusty Rhodes, not Dutch Mantel, not Jim Cornette, not Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, not Dave Lagana, not Bruce Prichard, not Big John, and not former WWE or WCW stars …
There’s been a few ebs and flows, but nobody has been significantly more successful or worse than anybody else. The blame for TNA’s current crossroads sits at those truly in charge, the Carter family and their failure to structure the company correctly, bring in the right people and foster an environment that rewards success and makes an example of failure.
There’s no vision, nobody with unique ideas, and nobody willing to step up and take a chance. It’s all the same old bullshit, from the same old faces, enabled by a family with a check book who are not wise enough to see their errors.
For the sake of the wrestlers on the roster let’s just hope that check book continues and things make a miraculous recovery.
As for the Spike deal, we won’t know until we know.