Impact Wrestling has had quite a successful and celebratory month, after announcing on Thursday that the company will now begin airing their weekly televised episodes on AXS TV starting in October. It's been noted that there switch from the Pursuit Channel to AXS TV will be after their pay-per-view event Bound For Glory, which will take place on October 20th in Chicago.
Executive Vice Presidents of Impact Wrestling Scott D' Amore and Don Callis spoke with AEW World Champion Chris Jericho on his Talk Is Jericho podcast about their recent decision to move to AXS TV.
"I think this week is a groundbreaking week for Impact Wrestling," D'Amore begins. "You look at the history of Impact Wrestling and for so many years, it was on the climb. But then it was going to smaller and smaller platforms, reducing its audience size and its footprint. For the first time in many years, we have made a huge jump forward. Not just with the broadcast deal, but with our parent company Anthem Sports & Entertainment purchasing the majority interest and control of AXS TV. It's a great day and time for Impact Wrestling and wrestling fans in general."
In the world of business, sometimes the way things are done can be quite confusing. Especially, the behind the scenes deals in broadcasting. Anthem Sports & Entertainment is a Canadian based broadcasting and production company. Impact Wrestling is the only American wrestling company that Anthem is affiliated with. Anthem just partnered with AXS TV founder Mark Cuban and acquired a majority interest in AXS TV.
"We purchased the majority," D'Amore said. "The cool part about this transaction is not only do we now own and control the network (AXS TV), but our partners in it are Mark Cuban, who wrestling fans and others know quite well, and AEG Group, who operates and manages many venues around the country. The synergy with us and our partners now is something we're excited about moving forward with."
Callis mentions that this idea has been in the works for quite some time now, roughly for about a year or so. Callis says that it was after a co-worker of theirs, who has been with the company since 2002, told Callis personally that Impact has not had this type of stability in the 17 years that he has worked for them. After hearing that, Callis knew right then and there that what they just did was going to help Impact change for the better.
"I think one of the things that is very interesting to me was a comment made by a long-time employee, who's been here since the beginning, 2002," Callis states. "He said to me 'Don, this company has never had this stability.' Even with the Spike (channel) deal, he told me he was there for that and was always wondering when the other shoe was going to drop. When is something going to happen? Because we're dependent on this deal. He also said we never had this kind of backing or partners. We own the network. We own the platform. That was from of guy who had that kind of perspective and I think that for me I was like wow. Because I haven't been around since 2004, so, I didn't know. For me, that was very telling."
There are two key ingredients that make up any type of broadcast deal, specifically a wrestling program. One is time and the other is money. Anthem has quite a lot of money and with that, it helped make this official agreement come to life sooner rather than later. D'Amore addressed that regardless of how much time and money they had to use, they wanted this deal to be done. That way, they could have a product that more fans invest their time into, which could help expand their demographic.
"This acquisition is an eye-opener for people," D'Amore stated. "When there's a time to spend and it makes sense, we're going to spend and invest in the long term future of this company."
Right after Impact Wrestling announced their big financial gain, rumors started circulating that the company was going to buy out Ring of Honor soon after. Callis couldn't help but find this comical and addressed he's thoughts on the matter in the podcast.
"I saw a rumor and of course it's funny how the rumors have been this last year and a half," Callis begins "There's been things said like 'oh, Impact is not going to last. This deal gets announced and all of the sudden, I see a rumor that says we're buying Ring of Honor. So, (begins to chuckle) it's funny how one event like this can completely change people's perceptions."
You can listen to the full interview by clicking here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.