I wrote this article two years ago based on data for that year’s Bound For Glory. In fact it may have been written before two years ago, but I transplanted it to my Tumblr about two years ago. I had originally written it while I was a staff member of Wrestling News Source. Sadly, as I re-read it, not much has changed. In fact their buy rates are about the same if not worse, and their numbers are roughly the same as well. TNA since then though has changed to only 4 LIVE PPVs a year with pre-recorded PPVs that are released on Fridays several times a year to keep up with international contractual obligations. Maybe one day I can look back and see how far they have come. I also have to point out how hilarious it is that someone actually stole this article and tried to pass it off as one of their own, but stupidly included my Strikes and Bumps title as well which I have been posting under for a few years now (you can find it here underneath Jesse Seedath’s facebook page) Amazing.
Strikes & Bumps – TNA Bound for Failure
Let’s get down to it when it comes to TNA fans. TNA hardcore fans are loyal and some times are a dream come true for a wresting promotion. They will fight anyone who tries to question the promotion they hold dear and they will, and to an absurd degree, not look at the glass half empty but try to look at the glass half full. I can respect that to a degree and I can even say that I’ve been there. I’m there when it comes to Ring of Honor and other indy promotions that behind the scenes aren’t doing so well. But there comes a point when the sh*t has to hit the fan and loyalty has to take a bow to numbers and facts. As Eric Bischoff, a producer of TNA Reaction, has said on his face book and twitter, ” Numbers don’t lie..” Very true Mr. Bischoff, numbers don’t lie and your numbers tell a truth that isn’t very pleasant.
The declining Impact ratings are out there. The decline of viewership within a single episode of Impact are out there as well. I’ve received many an email with TNA fans literally trying to tell me that the numbers put out there are false and even if they are true only show signs of potential. They had their highest rating a few weeks ago and yet a show that opens with 2.1 million viewers and closes at 1.6 million is not something I would be happy about. I am going to take a direct quote from an article written by a respected wrestling observer to show what I mean, ” Here is an interesting fact. As noted, Thursday’s Impact rating fell off at 10:15 p.m. and never recovered. Guess what happened on October 7th? Same thing. Show fell from a 1.44 at 10:15 to a 1.32 and never recovered. September 30th? Fell from a 1.25 at 10:15 to a 1.21, then to a 1.10 and a 1.08. September 23rd? Fell from a 1.06 at 10:15 to a 1.04, then down to a 1.03 and a 1.0. September 16th? Fell from a 1.33 at 10:15 to two straight 1.12s and a 1.10 to finish. “
This past Thursday show was no different. It began with a 1.14, peaked at a 1.25 at roughly 9:15pm my time, and then closed at a 0.98. Face it, it lost viewers. It averaged 1.4 million viewers. So for the rest of this article I am going to use this figure as my basis. What is ten percent of 1.4 million viewers? 140,000. Do we hear of any TNA PPV even reaching half of that? Not since TNA Lockdown when Joe faced Angle. That PPV did a rumored 65 – 70,000 buys, the most of any TNA PPV up to that point or since then. Sure rumored numbers are roughly 8,000 – 10,000 and possibly lower and while TNA doesn’t have to release their numbers, they aren’t denying it either. In the past when rumored numbers were out and weren’t correct TNA went out of their way to squash those numbers. They haven’t done that recently and even some who are backstage and are agents within TNA have gone on record to say they won’t confirm, but won’t deny those numbers have been told to them.
Now I’m not going to go out here and say that TNA isn’t still a growing product, cause it damn sure is. It’s been around for about eight years and yes any growing company has a period where it’s going to work in the red. But not a company that has names like Angle, Hardy, Rob Van Dam, Team 3D, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Sting. A company with that blend of veterans and young fresh talent should NOT have the numbers they have.
They have a core base of about 1.5 millions viewers. That’s good enough for me. I don’t expect them to over take Raw or Smackdown but they should be able to get at least ten percent of their viewing audience to buy a PPV. The fact that they are failing to do that is the testament to what I’m about to say… TNA is Bound for Failure if they don’t change up their marketing, their creative, and their public relations strategy. Yes WWE is also failing to do that right now in this economy. Ok let’s take a look at numbers again. Raw this past Monday had 4.5 million viewers. I am damn sure they aren’t doing over 400,000 buys for Survivor Series. Hell their latest numbers show that one PPV did 165,000 buys. So let’s see that is 0.036 so basically round up to four percent. Ok what is four percent of 1.5 million.. 60,000. TNA to equal what WWE is doing in PPV business would have to average 60,000 buys out of their fan base. So that means the rumored numbers are around one tenth of four percent? Need I say more?
Now before I see it, because I know it will show up, I want to mention UFC. UFC does between 300,000 to 1,000,000 buys per PPV. Blowing WWE out of the water. What makes it worse is that they have never beaten Raw or Smackdown in ratings for most of their television product. The ratings are there for TUF and their TV PPV events. They range in the mid to upper 1.0 range so they are about the same as TNA Impact and they are on the same network of Spike TV. So that ends that as far as I’m concerned for anyone that wants to start bringing up UFC, yes they are beating WWE, I admit that end of story.
So this is what I want to propose. TNA fans, what is it that keeps you from buying their PPVs? Lets be honest here. A recent poll on The Wrestling Observer showed that almost %80 of the fans on that site stated that it was TNA itself that made them not want to buy their product or watch their show. Only %4.5 said they were already too busy watching WWE & UFC. Granted that is a niche site but it is a well documented wrestling institution so I will use it as evidence that wrestling fans want more out of TNA before they will spend their hard earned money on a PPV. So what is it fans? What does TNA have to do to get you to buy their PPVs? Sure you can say it’s the economy and that streaming exists and that it’s all too easy to not pay for it. But then again, wouldn’t you say the same about WWE and yet a higher percentage of fans are still paying for their product. Hell by the numbers I’m sure Ring of Honor is doing pretty damn well with their iPPVs and I’m hoping that DGUSA does the same seeing as how that promotion needs some work but I’ll get to that in another column.
So you TNA fans that want to write to me and give me quotes like this one on Face book a few weeks ago after I got into a spat on Eric Bischoff’s personal page, ” TNA has WWE beat in storylines and talent and your just to stupid to realize that WWE is for retards..” I’ll be the first to admit that I could almost make the argument that on a pound for pound basis TNA has a better talent pool than WWE, but what does that mean if creative doesn’t do anything with it? If marketing can’t come up for reasons as to why people should buy their merchandise what does it matter if you have the best product in the world and no one is willing to plunk down their money for it?
I’m calling your bluff TNA fans, tell me what it is that makes you defend TNA so much and yet when it comes down to it you aren’t willing to buy the product. For those of you who aren’t persay TNA fans, I’m damn sure it would take a hell of a creative change and possibly the ousting of a few names I’ve mentioned in this column.
But until TNA gives me a reason to actually pay for their merch and their PPVs they are bound for failure and really it will be up to Dixie Carter…. I take that back, it will be up to Bob Carter to stop the bleeding and make TNA realize they need to start operating in the black.
Ratings credit: ProWrestling.net