Friday 14 January 2011

Gone for Good? TNA TV in UK By Shaun Nichols

Since it was announced that the Bravo TV channel would be discontinued on Sky, there were a number of rumours that TNA's Impact show would be picked up and shown on another Sky channel with the likely destination being either Sky 1, Sky 2, Sky 3 or at the very least the Extreme Sports channel which showed Xplosion and the PPV events. It is certainly true that TNA Impact was one of the more popular programmes on Bravo and so in theory shouldn't have an issue in securing a new slot on a different channel.
However as a condition of the WWE's deal with Sky it's clear that the WWE don't have any intention of allowing TNA to appear on Sky and especially not on a Sky Sports channel without a fight. It took for example a long time for UFC to secure a slot for the 'Ultimate Fighter' series on Sky Sports and it will be interested to see if Sky show the next series of UFC's reality show. The WWE remains a prominent and popular part of the Sky Sports schedule and there is no reason at all to assume that Sky would risk incurring the wrath of the WWE by insisting that they will find a home for TNA.
Since the Bravo channel shut down, TNA as not found a TV home in the UK and as it stands there seems little chance that TNA Impact will be appearing on any UK channel in either full or highlight form any time soon. Worse than that TNA as lost its home with Extreme Sports who it appears decided that they wouldn't renew their contract with TNA to continue to show Xplosion, TNA Epics and more importantly the monthly PPV shows.
Impact is still available to UK fans via the TNA website without paying any fee though how many fans in the UK will take up the option to watching what is usually a pretty frustrating TV show via the delights of their website. PPV events will also be available via their website for UK fans though this time they will be charged $34.95 per show which is more than double what ROH charge for their iPPV events. I really can't see many if any fans ordering the PPV's for two reasons, firstly fans in the UK still haven't taken to the concept of purchasing PPV events. Secondly the idea that TNA believes that they can charge the same for fans watching the PPV on the website then they can for fans watching in North America in front of a TV at a reasonable time is misguided at best.
At this time it's impossible to say if the TNA will secure a new TV deal in the UK. What should also be a worry to TNA is that they could risk losing their best market, the crowds that they draw in the UK are far better than they are in the US but losing TV for any length time may mean that the crowds that they have drawn in the past where they have regularly had 2000+ crowds on most nights and places like Manchester and London have seen crowds of over 5000 are a thing of the past. The idea that TNA could draw 5000 paying fans in the US at this time is an unlikely ambition, over the last few weeks any show that draws close to a 1000 fans as to be considered a success especially with Don West performing miracles on the merchandise stand. Only time will tell if losing UK television is a major blow for TNA but it surely must have some impact on the company.

Follow Stuart Rodgers on twitter @WLH_Stu

No comments:

Post a Comment