TNA Wrestling officially announced on Wednesday their new domestic TV deal with Discovery Communications to bring Impact to Destination America in the United States beginning in January 2015.
Specifics regarding the deal were not made available in the initial press release, other than it is a multi-year deal for Impact to air on the network. The announcement ends months of speculation after TMZreported in July that Spike TV had canceled the series. Spike ended up adding dates to their deal to carry the series later into the year but it appears as if the final episode of Impact will air on the network on Wednesday night. We previewed that episode at this link. Spike has held the exclusive domestic distribution rights to Impact since October 2005.
As for how Destination America compares to Spike TV, it's available in 41,700,000 less homes, with an estimated availability in 57 million American households as of 2013. Spike TV is available in 98,700,000 homes. It's unknown how much Destination America will pay TNA for the rights to Impact as Spike was paying $65,000 per hour for Impact or $130,000 per week. United Talent Agency, who negotiated the deal on behalf of TNA, will also profit from this deal.
Another thing to watch for is possible more clearance for TNA on Discovery Communications networks. Dixie Cartersaid in September that TNA will "die a slow death on the vine if we just stay as one two-hour show in the U.S." The feeling is she wants more programming and given the multiple networks owned by Discovery Communications, that is certainly a possibility.
TNA is set to tape their first set of Impact shows for Destination America in January from the Manhattan Center in New York City. The venue has been reserved for months, with it being known that it was for TV but didn't include Spike TV. An official announcement for those tapings has not yet been made. What we do know is the tapings will occur and the material will air on Destination America.
The official press release to announce Impact's move to Destination America is included below:
(Silver Spring, Md.) – Discovery Communications announced today that it has signed a multi-year deal with TNA (Total Nonstop Action) IMPACT WRESTLING to bring the popular league to homes nationwide on Destination America, the only network dedicated to celebrating the people, places and stories of the United States. Destination America officially enters the ring with its first world premiere of IMPACT WRESTLING in January 2015. The series features some of the biggest names in professional wrestling, including Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Kurt Angle, Bobby Lashley and Gail Kim. The partnership includes the U.S. premieres of additional TNA WRESTLING series and specials and provides Discovery Communications with international broadcasting rights in select regions, to be announced at a later date.
“Our partnership in this uniquely entertaining franchise with TNA IMPACT WRESTLING provides a significant addition to Destination America’s programming strategy,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President of Destination America, Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Discovery Fit & Health and Discovery Family Channel. “The enduring, cross-generational enthusiasm of pro wrestling is felt by millions of fans around the country, from coast-to-coast and throughout the heartland. We are delighted to bring this beloved American pastime to the one and only network dedicated to celebrating the unique spirit of the U.S., Destination America.”
“Our knockout partnership with TNA IMPACT WRESTLING continues Destination America’s mission of bringing our viewers the best of all-American entertainment, and going center ring with one of the world’s foremost professional wrestling leagues fits perfectly within our DNA,” said Marc Etkind, general manager of Destination America. “Wrestling has created a fiercely loyal, passionate and widespread fan base, and we look forward to being part of the TNA family.”
“We are very excited about Destination America being the new network for IMPACT WRESTLING and the partnership with Discovery Communications both domestically and across the globe. Their commitment to promote and grow our brand in innovative and compelling ways was instrumental in knowing we had found the right home,” said TNA President Dixie Carter. “Together we will create an experience that takes our fans on a new journey that will push the envelope of technology, including where we take our cameras, going deeper into our superstars’ lives and showing the reality of what it takes to create a weekly professional wrestling show, all while showcasing the very best male and female athletes in the world.”
Since launching in 2012, Destination America has become one of cable’s top five fastest-growing networks*, earning 10 consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth in Prime among P2+. With top series that explore unique American cultures and ways of life – including Mountain Monsters, A Haunting, Hillbilly Blood, Buying the Bayou, Buying Alaska, Ghost Asylum and BBQ Pitmasters – Destination America’s programming spans the nation from Alaska, Hawaii and Colorado to Louisiana, West Virginia and communities in between. To find Destination America, the new home of TNA’s IMPACT WRESTLING, go to destinationamerica.com/watchda.
TNA is a privately held sports entertainment company based in Nashville, Tenn., specializing in TV properties, events, merchandise, music, and the management and promotion of professional wrestlers. TNA annually delivers more than 500 hours of original content to millions of fans around the world.
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Richard Reacts: This news means that TNA will continue to exist beyond 2015, something we carefully pointed out at this link. TNA has a chance to reset but make no mistake about it, they will reset in a scaled back form. While Destination America is available in 57 million homes, not only is that significantly less than Spike TV but it is often available on upgraded cable and satellite packages. Spike is generally available in most base packages that include cable television. In other words, less people are going to watch Impact on a weekly basis. With that said, TNA will have an opportunity to grow the network, which could see them return to Spike TV viewership levels.