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    Friday, November 20, 2015

    New TV Deals for TNA and ROH

    North American fans looking for an alternative to standard WWE programming have an exciting 2016 to look forward to with new TV deals recently announced for both TNA and ROH.

    First off is the breaking news that TNA, after a tumultuous stint with Destination America which included embarrassing leaked emails by its president Dixie Carter, has finally landed a new home, Pop TV, starting January 5, 2016, and every Tuesday after that.

    Pop TV is a basic cable and satellite channel available in approximately 75 million American homes, automatically giving TNA a potential audience over 30% larger than what they were enjoying with Destination America.

    The full press release paints a rosy picture for TNA's future, which can only be good news for anyone who wants a strong competitive environment to keep the WWE on its toes.
    LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – Nov. 19, 2015 – Get ready for #ImpactOnPop. Pop, a network that celebrates the excitement of being a fan, will soon become the exclusive U.S. television home of IMPACT WRESTLING, the hard-hitting, high-flying global sports sensation enjoyed by millions of fans around the world. 
    Pop will premiere IMPACT WRESTLING with a live two-hour, action-packed broadcast on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, and the show will continue to air every Tuesday night at 9:00 PM, ET/PT. The show features some of the biggest stars in professional wrestling, including Jeff and Matt Hardy, EC3, Kurt Angle, Bobby Lashley, The Wolves, Eric Young, Tigre Uno and Gail Kim. 
    “Wrestling has been a fan-fueled staple since the ’50s, and continues to be some of the most-watched appointment television today. The die-hard fandom and extraordinary passion surrounding IMPACT WRESTLING captures the spirit of Pop as a network that celebrates fan-driven entertainment and excitement,” said Brad Schwartz, President of Pop. “We’re committed to this new partnership and psyched to bring the show’s loyal fans a dedicated night to watch their favorite show on Pop every week.” 
    IMPACT WRESTLING is a strong global brand seen on networks in more than 120 countries around the world and broadcast in 17 languages. Its fans are some of the most devoted and socially active in sports, with more than 15 million aggregated social media followers and nearly 700 million video views on YouTube, making it the seventh-most-viewed sports channel, ahead of MLB®, NHL®, MLS® and FIFATV®. 
    “Pop’s enthusiasm for our partnership and the network’s fan focus is a perfect fit for our company,” said TNA President Dixie Carter. “Wresting has always been at the forefront of pop culture with the most passionate, loyal fan base. We’re thrilled to be in business with Pop and to bring IMPACT WRESTLING to more than 80 million homes.”

    Contrary to other rumors, TNA is not paying Pop TV for the airtime, and will instead be under the terms of a normal TV licensing deal, where a carrier network pays the promotion revenue for the right to air their content.

    TV numbers have been decent, if inconsistent, for TNA on Destination America, playing in the neighborhood of roughly 300,000 viewers per week. Hopefully the security given by a new TV deal lights a fire under their collective butts, and reignites the glory days of the mid-2000s.


    And it looks like ROH isn't doing too shabbily either.

    After an initial six-month deal inked with Destination America in May of this year gave the promotion its first true national TV exposure, they're moving on to greater heights with a deal of their own to be aired on Comet TV starting December 5, 2015. This deal, while not on the scale of TNA's own arrangement with Pop TV, gives ROH presence in approximately 65 million households, which represents a 15% increase over what they enjoyed on DA.

    As the original stomping grounds of such critical favorites as CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, Austin Aries, and Daniel Bryan, wrestling purists have long been rooting for ROH to succeed in a big way, and we're pleased to see them carry their initial momentum into an exciting 2016.

    Here's the official press release.
    (BALTIMORE, MD) – Ring of Honor (“ROH”) is proud to announce that beginning December 2nd, ROH will air its weekly television program nationally on the COMET television channel. Fans will be able to #WatchROH every Wednesday night at midnight for the latest Ring of Honor action. 
    “Ring of Honor has been enjoying tremendous growth and expansion across the broadcast space, including new local TV deals in strategic markets, and even internationally with L’Equipe 21 in France,” said Ring of Honor COO, Joe Koff. “As we continue to push for greater domestic and international distribution, Ring of Honor truly showcases itself as world-class wrestling. Having Ring of Honor on COMET, in addition to the availability in Sinclair markets and independent agreements, means fans across the United States can continue to enjoy ROH television weekly.” 
    Ring of Honor’s weekly episodes recently enjoyed great success on Destination America, peaking at 227,000 viewers on a single television airing. ROH’s 26-week deal signed in May 2015 with Destination America is set to expire, which will see ROH’s final episode air on the channel on November 25th, 2015. 
    Sinclair Television Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI) (“Sinclair”), and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (“MGM”), recently announced that COMET, the first-ever 24 hour/7 day per week science fiction multi-channel network, which will feature more than 1,500 hours of premium MGM content, would premiere in over 60% of the country and over 65 million homes on October 31st of this year. The network will debut in all top markets including New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Seattle, WA; Denver, CO; St. Louis, MO; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA; Washington D.C.; Boston, MA; Pittsburgh, PA and Houston, TX. In addition to the Sinclair owned television stations, COMET will also launch on a number of Tribune and Titan stations. 
    Fans can also watch Ring of Honor content on http://rohwrestling.com. To find out where Ring of Honor Wrestling airs in your area click here. Fans can also follow Ring of Honor’s social media channels for even more content and news, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. 
    About Ring of Honor Wrestling:
    Ring of Honor Wrestling is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., the largest and one of the most diversified television broadcasting companies with affiliations across all the major networks. Ring of Honor is a professional wresting company which produces weekly, original 1-hour television wrestling programs and is the only wresting promotion in the United States with a major, multi-market presence on broadcast TV. Ring of Honor is also syndicated on select TV stations and regional Cable Systems. For further information on Ring of Honor, visit www.rohwrestling.com
    About Sinclair:
    Sinclair is the largest and one of the most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country with 164 television stations it owns, operates, and/or provides services to in 79 markets broadcasting 384 channels and affiliations with all the major networks. Sinclair is the leading local news provider in the country, as well as a producer of sports content. Sinclair’s broadcast content is delivered via multiple-platforms, including over-the-air, multi-channel video program distributors, and digital platforms. The Company regularly uses its website as a key source of Company information which can be accessed at www.sbgi.net.
    We hope ROH can break out from its nondescript audience ratings on Destination America, where weekly audiences would play out between the 100,000-200,000 viewership range.


    So there you have it, wrestling fans. With new TV deals in place for both TNA and ROH to dispel long-buzzing rumors over their stability and long-term financial viability, we could just be in for a pro wrestling renaissance in 2016. It's a popular opinion to say that Vince McMahon and the WWE are at their best when faced with strong opposition, so the success of these two organizations just may be what the wrestling industry needs to return to its dizzying TV rating heights of the past.

    Now it's up to Jeff Jarrett's fledgeling Global Force Wrestling (GFW) to secure a TV deal of its own; despite Jarrett's efforts (and recent TV tapings in Las Vegas), all has been quiet on this front, with just a single UK broadcasting deal in place as of press time.

    Are you thrilled over these new TV deals for both TNA and ROH? Or do you think the two will never progress beyond being small niche operations over the immediate future? Will GFW be left out in the cold before it even has a chance to shine? Tell us your thoughts below, and let's have a good discussion.
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