TNA executive Jeff Jarrett and Impact Wrestling President Ed Nordholm are currently in the United Kingdom for media meetings. Dave Meltzer is claiming that Jeff Jarrett is having meetings with ITV, one of the UK top TV networks. This is following Challenge TV dropping TNA Wrestling at the end of 2016.
TNA ITV TV Deal?
Impact Wrestling twitter posted a photo of the two outside Houses of Parliament in London, suggesting they are having meetings and stay tuned for more information. The United Kingdom is easily TNA’s biggest market, historically receiving high viewing figures on Bravo and then Challenge TV. It’s annual tours (which ended in 2016) always drew well and included TV tapings similar to WWE. When Challenge TV dropped the TV deal at the end of 2016 many saw this as the nail in the coffin. With new owners and the return of Jeff Jarrett, Impact Wrestling are moving in the right direction. To fill the void, TNA released their own on-demand app which aired Impact Wrestling episodes live as well as holding a vault of historical shows.
— IMPACT WRESTLING (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 17, 2017
What makes this new very interesting is that ITV are keen to bring back wrestling to their network. World of Sport was driven by weekly wrestling and reached audiences of over 20 million in its hay days. ITV aired a special WOS show on New Years Eve which drew extremely well, with competition from a huge premiership football match.
For those not sure, ITV currently broadcast several stations. It is very unlikely that TNA Wrestling would be broadcasted on the main ITV channel, however could be slotted onto ITV4 which airs various other sporting events as well.
Concern for WWE?
For the WWE interest, this really could hotten up the UK market. With the revival of World of Sport, WWE signed the UK tournament. This prevent various stars being able to compete with ITV’s World of Sport. Given that ITV is available on the UK’s Free-to-air Freeview network, this would mean their “competitors” would be on easy to access television. WWE currently air on Sky Sports a premium subscription service with recap shows available on Sky1 later.
Naturally this is very positive news for Impact Wrestling and fans in the United Kingdom. No doubt the Total Non Stop Access app is a great idea, however TNA always had the chance to reach to a broader audience on TV.
Update 28th February
Jeff Jarrett has revealed via twitter this morning that he will announce a TV deal. In India Sony Six will air TNA Impact. For the United Kingdom… is still to be revealed.
Update 2nd March
Impact Wrestling has announced a television deal with Spike TV in the UK. Spike is available on all major platforms including the freeview format available to all UK residents.
More news and response when we hear it.
Whats your thoughts on the rumours? Does this help TNA in the UK Market?