Views From The Turnbuckle: What Spike Cancelling TNA Actually Means

Views From The Turnbuckle: What Spike Cancelling TNA Actually Means
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of WrestlingInc or its staff.

Impact Wrestling not being renewed by Spike TV is the biggest thing that could happen to the company, something that puts them in tremendous jeopardy. TNA could lose some of their top talent, they could cut back on some PPVs, they could draw poor crowds to house shows, but they absolutely could not lose their TV deal. But what does losing that deal really mean for the company?

For starters, TNA is not dead, at least not yet. Yes, Spike dropping them is a huge blow, but there is still a chance that TNA lands on its feet, but they will have to get lucky. There is still a chance that another national television network gives TNA two hours in primetime like Spike did, and while their audience would take an initial hit, they would still in theory, find themselves in a similar position as they were when they were on Spike.

The big question mark is what network is going to give TNA that opportunity that Spike did. Spike caught some flak for not advertising TNA enough, but in reality, Spike was a godsend for TNA. Wrestling in 2014 isn't really hot TV for networks, just look at WWE's latest TV deal. WWE had one of the top shows on cable, but their TV deal still flopped hard. TNA was very fortunate that a network was willing to put on an often-times substandard wrestling show, for nearly a decade.

Spike was not a small-fry in the television industry. Yes, their ratings were disappointing at times, but under the Viacom umbrella, Spike was available in 85% of American homes, which is just as many homes as any other cable network, including stations like TBS, ESPN, USA and AMC. Spike gave TNA a weekly outlet to 85% of the United States, which is huge for a wrestling company.

For TNA to be in a situation similar to the one when they were on Spike, they need to find a network with as great of accessibility. Here is a list of all the cable networks in the USA and what percentage of homes they are in:

Take a look at the networks that match Spike's 85%. How many of them would be willing to give a wrestling show two hours of primetime? Obviously, networks like Food Network, HGTV and Animal Planet are out of the question, and other networks that might make sense, like FX or TBS, have average primetime ratings that greatly exceed what TNA typically gets, so there is no way they would free up some space for a wrestling show of TNA's caliber.

Some fans will think that surely some network would give TNA a chance, because even though TNA's ratings were often the butt of jokes, getting near a 1.0 every week is still much better then what many networks do. While that is true, not all 1.0 ratings are created equal. A big thorn in the side of wrestling companies is that advertisers don't believe that advertising to wrestling fans is as profitable as advertising to other TV audiences, whether that be sports, reality TV, sitcoms or whatever. They believe (and hey, maybe this is true) that wrestling fans are mostly stupid hicks, who of course, don't have a lot of disposable income, which makes for a poor advertising audience. A wrestling show getting a 1.0 is not as beneficial to a network as a reality show getting a 1.0 (or in TNA's case, a re-run of COPS). That 1.0 might as well be a .60.

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