For months now, we have all heard the rumors that Spike may not be renewing their TV deal with TNA. In fact, it is said that many in TNA were concerned over WWE’s deal with NBC Universal expiring because Spike was rumored to be looking to bring WWE back to the Viacom family. We now know that those concerns are over as WWE has reached a new deal with NBC Universal, but backstage morale in TNA is still said to be low due to the cost-cutting measures and (mainly) the lacking sense of security over TNA’s deal with Spike ending this fall. TNA is being proactive in the hopes of a Spike renewal by signing with the United Talent Agency (UTA) to help retain and create new television opportunities. But let’s just say that Spike doesn’t want to resign TNA to a deal. Is it really all THAT bad?
Let’s be honest. Spike hasn’t exactly treated Impact with the manner of respect it deserves for a while now. The 2-hour time slot TNA fills on Thursday nights was basically one long promotional ad for Bellator for seemingly all of 2013. The cross-promotion between TNA and Bellator was (and still is) incredibly one-sided as Impact was used to promote Bellator fights, but never once did I see Bellator promote anything TNA. (Having a Knockout be a ring girl for a fight doesn’t count!) Hell, the bust known as *sigh* “#August1Warning,” who was revealed to be Tito Ortiz was just another promotional tool for Bellator to hype up the then scheduled fight between Ortiz and Rampage Jackson, except this one actually played out as an angle on TNA TV. If I were Dixie Carter, or anyone else in TNA, I would be jumping to say goodbye to Spike the first chance I had. I know what you’re thinking. “If TNA doesn’t have a TV deal, they’ll certainly go out of business before the end of the year!” Not so, and here’s why.
First, TNA found growth when they were on Fox Sports Net (FSN) back in 2004 while airing at different times and days depending on which FSN channel it was airing on. When Impact was streamed online during the summer of 2005 while they were in-between leaving FSN and debuting on Spike, they did not lose any momentum. With the technology that we have now versus ten years ago, TNA going online-only isn’t that bad of an idea. Imagine a TNA app (similar to the WWE Network) that would allow users to stream Impact from any device. They could create their own time slot and live stream from wherever. The “Free-Per-View” events could take place on a weekend instead of filling up an Impact taping, and they could also expand shows like Spin Cycle and Impact 365 on the app. In 2014, there’s no reason that not having a TV deal means closing up shop.
Second, TNA isn’t nearly as bad off as the fine internet folks made us believe last year. They are cost-cutting, yes, but TNA has signed many existing and new talents to multi-year deals, so they obviously are not as in the red as we thought. Also, it seems that TNA’s days in the Impact Zone are over as Dixie Carter tweeted that the most recent set of Impact tapings were the last at Universal Studios.
Tonight is the last #Impact taping at Universal Orlando. There will be a special meet and greet ringside immediately following the show.
— Dixie Carter (@TNADixie) May 9, 2014
If TNA is going to try going on the road for Impact again after New York City, live streaming Impact could definitely play well into their hands if a deal with Spike or any other network isn’t reached by the fall. It also gives them a chance to make a profit from ticket sales for Impact, and personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing TNA “reboot” from a production standpoint.
For instance, if you’re leaving Universal and taking Impact on the road, don’t book arenas you can’t fill to the max. It was quite embarrassing to see those half-empty arenas last summer. It’s time to go small. For example, look at the Full Sail Live venue for NXT or the venues that Ring of Honor books. They are small, but they pack them in full of rabid wrestling fans, which plays off big time on TV. Granted, TNA already books venues like this for their house shows and they don’t sell out, but remember that these are house shows. If TNA was to have the cameras there for Impact, be it on TV or online, they would sell out. The best part about leaving Universal and taking Impact on the road is that TNA wouldn’t necessarily have to move to do so. I’m sure there is a small venue in the Orlando area that could hold Impact; and as I mentioned above, TNA could make a profit from ticket sales as I’m sure the Impact Zone faithful would attend. Not to mention those that wouldn’t have to pay Universal admission to see the show. If not Orlando, then see about going “home” to Nashville. ROH ran the Asylum not too long ago, and they packed the house. TNA could certainly do the same seeing how it’s their hometown. The time as come for Impact to spread its wings and do so the right way this time.
TNA has taken the proactive steps to develop a new TV deal and there’s a good chance they’ll get one some where (Please be FS1!) before the fall. But that, of course, isn’t a guarantee. Having the Plan B I listed above (or one similar) could give TNA the boost it needs to become the force in wrestling that it once was. A new golden age of TNA is within reach. Like I said before, if Spike doesn’t want to renew, would it really be all THAT bad?
I think not.