Rumors have it that TNA Impact will not be renewed long term by Spike TV, but TNA has an offer on the table from a much lower profile station. Thus, we look to the past to see what this might mean for TNA's future.
As we mentioned in our daily rumor roundup post earlier today, it is believed that Spike TV will part ways with TNA in early 2015 and that they are only continuing to air Impact to give TNA every chance to find a new television deal with another partner. Apparently TNA has an offer on the table with a much lower profile station, so they do have a place to go if Spike TV does indeed decide to cancel them.
The source of this rumor was Dave Meltzer, who had the following to say about TNA's future in his latest Wrestling Observer radio show:
"There are key people in [Spike TV] who believe (and again Kevin Kay is going to be the one who makes that decision) that they are not renewing TNA. But, as was said from day one, there is no date of cancellation and they don't want to be dicks to TNA.... The impression I have is that TNA has a place to go, but it's not a very major place, but they have a place and if that place will, lets just say it will be February when that place picks them up, Spike will let TNA stay on the station on a week to week basis for awhile."
This story is very reminiscent of the dying days of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) in the autumn of 2000, when TNN (Spike TV's name before re-branding in 2003) cancelled ECW just over a year into their three year contract to make way for the WWF. As Tommy Dreamer has been outspoken about, ECW was at the time offered a thirty minute daily weekday afternoon time slot on regional Fox Sports Net cable stations, so he has been adamant in his belief that ECW could have hung on for longer. However, Paul Heyman disagreed, feeling that the Fox Sports Net deal wouldn't give ECW the necessary exposure to maintain their audience and also wasn't financially viable, so he filed for bankruptcy instead.
Without knowing the exact network that TNA may have to move to, it's hard to know whether TNA are in the same boat as ECW was in 2000, but there's definitely a lot of similarities. Like ECW, TNA has not been able to make money off their television show on Spike. In fact, TNA's house show attendance and pay-per-view business this year is at sub ECW 2000 levels. Now, they too are faced with a move to a worse station for presumably much less money, which will inevitably hurt their audience. The Carter family will have to weigh up the financial implications just like Paul Heyman did in 2000. Is it worth pouring more money into the TNA business when the odds of ever getting a return on your substantial investment are slimmer than ever? Or is it time to cut your losses and sell TNA's assets to the highest bidder?
The main difference between ECW and TNA is that the Carter family are much more ridiculously wealthy than the Heyman family was. Dixie Carter hasn't spent all of her parent's Panda Energy fortune on keeping TNA going. They can still afford to allow her to save face and keep her gainfully employed (and away from their bigger businesses) running and starring in a low budget rasslin' company. Costs can be cut even further to the detriment of their talent, whilst keeping money losses to a minimum. It might not be the smartest financial play, but it's hard to pull the plug on your daughter's dreams. Indeed, Jerry Jarrett believes that TNA will be subsidized by Bob Carter until the day he dies.
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