Over the course of the past couple of days, it has come to me that TNA may finally be on its last legs if they cannot secure a home with a larger radius than Discovery Velocity, who have offered TNA a tv deal in that time once their deal with Spike has lapsed. With only a reach of about 50,000,000 homes, TNA's staff will have to downsize so much, it will barely be able to run even under indy standards, no offense meant to indy promotions. So what does this mean?
Spike TV's audience is sizable, nearly 100,000,000 homes, almost double that of the Velocity network, which means that even if TNA got the numbers they're used to seeing right now, the visibility of the network would impede their progress.....unless the popularity of the rest of the programming in addition to TNA's broadcasts were equally on par. In a situation where virtually all of the programming on a any given network draws viewers in droves, said network can negotiate being bundled into a regular cable contract with various carriers around the nation and the globe. If a reasonable deal can't be reached with Spike, Velocity may end up being the only viable option to keeping the promotion alive, unless GFW manages to make good on a deal that was tabled a few months back to purchase it outright.
To be fair to Global Force Wrestling, even in spite of their "global" reach in terms of partnerships with the sheer volume of promotions around the world, they still haven't secured a TV deal, which is paramount for an undertaking of this magnitude. On the other hand, if they managed to get their hands on the kind of deal TNA had with Spike on a more widely available network, I think we could see something in the way of a lifeboat for a handful of TNA talents. Which ones? I think I can make a case for about 10-15 talents who could jump ship and be comfortable, provided the money is there.
Before we go and sail off on the GFW Express, I'd like to be very clear that I don't want TNA to go under and further, I think any network NOT owned by Vince owes it to themselves and their viewing public to give TNA a try and PROMOTE THEM! Spike's biggest complaint is that they haven't experienced any long term growth over the course of the time they've been on the network. The glaring inconsistency in that line of thinking is that Spike did NOTHING to promote TNA and expected TNA to pop some big numbers. It astonishes me, it really does. For not being promoted, whether for PPVs OR for weekly television broadcasts, I'd say 1.0 is a decent number. Those at Spike can choose to disagree, but they have the right to be wrong if they like.
Right now, GFW is making some waves, partnering with New Japan in a story that is pretty solid, featuring Jeff Jarrett reuniting with AJ Styles and becoming a member of Bullet Club. Does this translate to viewers once GFW finally launches? Perhaps, but without the TV deal in hand, this is only a locally contained uprising in support and very small on the fringe, or domestic market. Through partnerships with various outlets and promotions, Jarrett now has access to battles among some of the best and most recognizable faces in wrestling. AJ Styles, Alex Shelley, El Mesias, Konnan, even some of the top level former WWE talents like Alberto del Rio and the impending Rey Mysterio, who will most likely be released leading into the fall. It sure sounds like progress, right? What can I say? Here's hoping.