For those that missed it, TMZbroke the news that Spike TV has informed TNA Impact Wrestling they will not be renewing their agreement that's due up in October. We've been following the negotiations since the onset and now have full information as to what happened.
Spike TV and TNA had been getting close to a deal early in the month and I'm told it was to the point where Spike wanted TNA back. The ratings are fairly consistent and it's cheap programming. The hold up in negotiations was TNA looking for a sizable increase in rights fees and Spike feeling like TNA had no leverage. Spike has been paying $65,000 per hour for Impact or $130,000 per week. That was just the basic rights fee for the show and Spike has pumped a lot more money in over the years chipping in significant portions towards the contracts of some of the higher priced talent (most of which have left).
TNA was looking for $100,000 per hour in the new deal (the deals have always been structured per hour dating back to the original deal which was for a one hour show). Spike was not interested in giving any increase, feeling the show has been stagnant, has shown no growth and Spike took a "take it or leave it approach". But it was looking like a deal might get done, with Spike moving to $75,000 per hour and TNA moving to $85,000 per hour. So they were not far apart on money.
Then disaster struck for TNA when it was learned that Vince Russois still involved with the product. I'm told executives at Spike do not like Russo and had been promised he would no longer be involved with TNA (which was an obvious lie even relayed to me via a TNA spokesman). At that point, TNA had a major problem on their hands, although it's unknown if they realized how big it was at the time.
TNA and Spike had a meeting a little under a week ago, with TNA going into the meeting thinking they would bridge the money gap and hammer out a deal (at $80,000 per hour). Spike took the position of no increase (staying at $65,000 per hour) and if a deal was not struck, no more meetings (effectively, TNA would be cancelled).
TNA postured like they had other options and did not take the new deal at the old rate, and now, they may end up with nothing.
TNA has been trying to keep this quiet as they hoped to get another meeting with Spike, but it appears Spike is moving on. TNA is also frantically trying to get a meeting with the people over at Fox Sports, which they used to have a relationship with, in hopes of being paired with UFC again, this time on Fox Sports 1 instead of Spike.
As for what Spike might do, Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling can't negotiate with Spike until 2015 (when TNA & Jeff parted ways, it was agreed that Jeff could not do business with Spike for 12 months). However, Jeff and Spike have used third parties to communicate. Spike is skeptical that Jeff can get something off the ground that would draw the audiences TNA would draw.
Spike has also met with Ring of Honor, although Spike doesn't see them as a viable alternative.
There is another player in this though, as Eric Bischoff has very quietly been trying to put something together. Bischoff is well liked by Spike and they were not happy when TNA let him go.