WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross wrote the following on his website about the TNA situation with Spike TV:
“TMZ reported Sunday night that they would be ending their relationship with TNA Impact when their current rights fee arrangement ends supposedly in October.
Obviously, this is a blow to TNA but they have a weekly audience of approximately 1M viewers which will interest some cable networks. The question is can TNA negotiate a deal that will financially keep them in business in today’s entertainment world with this quick turnaround?
WWE got less of a rights fee from NBC/Universal to stay on the USA Network than many predicted so one could assume another cable entity might not be willing to pay top dollar for TNA with the current perception that broadcasters apparently have regarding the genre.
One would assume/hope TNA finds a new cable home and they move their fan base with them. If not, Viacom’s Spike Network is in the same position TBS was in when Jim Crockett Promotions found themselves in financial duress. TBS bought out JCP and WCW aired on TBS & TNT for years. The question is does Viacom want to own a pro wrestling franchise to go with their newly acquired MMA franchise Bellator?
It will be interesting to see how all the involved parties spin this matter come Monday morning. If WWE’s scheduled financial, conference call doesn’t go well later this week especially as it relates to the number if subscribers currently paying for the WWE Network this will be one of the most news worthy and potentially negative weeks the business has experienced in years. Hopefully the week will end better than it’s started.
As in any major development such as this, opportunistic entrepreneurs will circle their wagons to both fill the programming void at Spike and to potentially create national, cable TV competition for WWE.
I’m hoping the wrestling fans win at the end of the day and that there will be competition within the timeless genre that has apparently come to another crossroads that will necessitate change which might actually be a good thing.”