David John Macht, this column is for you for a couple of reasons.
1. To restore a bit of hope in the TNA brand
2. To give you some information, or food for thought, as to TNA's current strategy
Okay, to begin, let's look at some numbers. When TNA was on Spike TV, their numbers were ranging from 714,000 to almost a million people. Bear in mind that the total reach of that network is upwards of 1.5 million people give or take.
When TNA launched from Destination America, they brought in just over half of the final numbers they had on Spike with just over 400,000 viewers spread between two broadcasts of the same episode. Just this past week, numbers were released stating that TNA's viewership had grown to a WHOPPING 600,000 viewers. I'm no math major, but I'm pretty sure that's over 200,000 MORE than the first week and on a network with a reach of just over half that of Spike.
This is HUGE for TNA and you can bet those numbers WILL rise for TNA on the UK tour in the coming week. The numbers ALWAYS bode well when they're in the UK. Why? Because all you Brits and the like are total powerhouses in terms of delivering great reactions and it just makes the product look so much better. For my money, I say you guys deserve Bound for Glory there more than Japan did, not that those fans weren't as hot for the brand, but since you guys have been so supportive of the brand for much longer.
Still think TNA's the sinking ship? From MY perspective, this partnership, which goes until 2017 and has the option for a 3-5 year extension based upon growth of the brand, which has been doing AMAZINGLY for so short a time on the network AND the network itself is growing, finding more outlets and providers each year than the one prior.
Regarding their choice to not do much in the way of traveling: When Hogan and Bischoff were on board, they sped up the time frame for traveling far quicker than they were ready for and they paid dearly for it, having paid more out of pocket than they were bringing in via ticket and merchandise sales. Back in those days, I stated quite vehemently that they weren't ready, but when Panda Energy, the company that was backing emergency funds stepped in to help offset costs, it seemed to work and since Spike wasn't opposed, neither was I....at least at first. When talents started getting paid late, however, the weak points in the armor started to show more clearly. Traveling, exaggerated salaries from non-wrestling personalities, and not enough funds coming in to cover all the costs from TNA's bank account put a real pinch on their shrinking budget.
SO, when Spike pulled the plug and Destination America put their time and money to TNA's aid, a decision was made: "We need to just stick to the televised events and cut house shows altogether." I happen to believe it was the right choice and once they made the choice they did, they were better able to afford giving out yearly contracts again instead of running per appearance, as they had been in the twilight days on Spike.
PLUS, there is movement in terms of TNA's potential deal with Netflix as it relates to Destination America's pull on the streaming service. If a deal can be reached, streams could go online as soon as early spring. Did Spike EVER try to do anything like this for them? I say NO.