Anthem exec releases portions of Hardy contract in IP dispute

May 24, 2017

Ed Nordholm, Executive Vice President of Anthem Sports & Entertainment, sent out an email and attachment of portions of Matt Hardy’s contract related to the use of the “Broken Brilliance” creative which is sparking a potential Intellectual Property dispute between the Hardy’s and its former contractors.

MMA Payout obtained a copy of the along with members of the pro wrestling media.  The email sent out on Tuesday outlines the substance of communcations between Anthem (i.e., TNA Impact Wrestling) and the Hardy Brothers over the potential use of their “Broken” gimmick in WWE.  For those that have been following, the Hardy Brothers used the gimmick in Ring of Honor after leaving Impact Wrestling.  A cease and desist letter was sent to Ring of Honor and its distributors to prevent the Hardys to use their gimmicks while developed in Imp act Wrestling.

The email outlines the log of communications between Nordholm and the Hardy’s.  You can envision it being included in a declaration if this were to go to court.

  • March 10 – EBN speaks with executives at ROH about “Broken Brilliance” being used in ROH shows. I indicated willingness to provide an arrangement that would allow the creative to be used in ROH shows and encouraged ROH to have Matt speak with me if he wanted to pursue that discussion
  • March 11 – EBN spoke at length with Matt by telephone about the structure of an amicable arrangement for use of the Broken Brilliance creative
  • March 14 – Matt sent text message to Ed Nordholm at 4:05pm:

“Tried giving you a call, it rang & went busy. I’m open to working things out amicably as we spoke about. The lawyer who represent me is interested in seeing your offer. My lawyer’s email is {redacted} which you could send the offer to for review. Thanks.”

And I responded by text at 6:41 pm

“Thank you Matt. I was supposed to be [flying] into NYC today and am a little twisted. I will pull something together with [our] lawyers and try to get it over to your lawyer tomorrow or Thursday at latest“

  • March 16 – At 8:25 pm I sent an update text to Matt:

“Hi Matt. My lawyer got me a draft too late to get reviewed for today. I will look at it in the morning. Sorry for the delay”

And he responded at 9:16 pm

“Ok, he’s ready for it. Thanks for the update.”

  • March 17 – counsel for Anthem Wrestling delivered draft proposal to counsel for Matt Hardy
  • March 24 – counsel for Anthem Wresting followed up with Matt Hardy counsel requesting comments on the proposal
  • March 27 – counsel for Matt Hardy responds that they have been away and have not reviewed the proposal but will be back “in the next few days”

After which no further communication until

  • April 18 – counsel for Matt Hardy leaves a voice mail message for counsel for Anthem Wrestling asking to arrange a meeting
  • April 20 – EBN contacts WWE by email to determine veracity of internet rumours concerning WWE interest in Broken Brilliance
  • April 21 — WWE respond by email that there “is no interest on our end” {redacted email exchange attached}
  • April 21 – counsel for Matt Hardy sends a follow up message requesting a meeting
  • April 27 – lawyers speak to arrange a meeting
  • May 16 – lawyers meet but no agreement reached

In addition, Nordholm included relevant portions of the Hardy contract with Impact Wrestling.  The blue underlined sentences are from Nordholm’s copy.  It is done to highlight the terms which they argue rule this contract issue.   Notably, section C reflects that the Company owns all Performances, “free from any claims of ownership by the Contractor (i.e., Matt and Jeff Hardy) or any other party.  Section D notes the “Assignment of Works” is owned by the Company even if the contract is terminated.  Under the Original Intellectual Property and Merchandising Section B it notes that the Company shall be “free from any claims of ownership by the Contractor.”

Hardy Contract Extract by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

As we opined in our post on March 30th, “Who owns your gimmick?”  The contract is the first thing that you have to look at when determining who owns the intellectual property created during the contracted relationship.  Was the contract legal?  It appears it is from what has been produced.  Next, the Independent Contractor Agreement reflects the fact that anything made while under contract is owned by the Company.  It’s quite unfair but not unusual.

The release seems like a way to avoid potential litigation over the Copyright issue.  Assuming the contract was signed by the Hardys and was valid at the time of signature, the provisions in the contract would favor TNA.  Clearly, what the company is angling toward is a possible license it can sell to the WWE for use of the gimmick.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Who owns your gimmick?

March 30, 2017

The subject of who owns a wrestling character’s gimmick came up earlier this month when Matt and Jeff Hardy left Impact Wrestling and appeared to take their characters they developed in the organization with them.

It was reported by Ryan Satin’s The Wrestling Sheet and Dave Meltzer that Impact Wrestling’s lawyers sent a cease and desist letters to independent wrestling promotion Ring of Honor and its distributors to prevent the Hardys to use their gimmicks developed and used in Impact Wrestling on a Ring of Honor PPV.  As a result, Matt and Jeff Hardy did not use their characters on the ROH PPV.  Rather, they were generic versions of the Hardy

Prior to the ROH PPV, the Hardys made a “surprise” appearance at a ROH show which may have tipped off Impact Wrestling that the two were going forward in using the gimmicks in another organization.  Impact Wrestling’s Ed Nordholm stated that the “Broken Universe” character(s) were created by the company’s creative team which would mean that the organization would have ownership rights.

Notably, Matt Hardy applied for the trademark rights to his character he used in TNA, Broken Matt Hardy on March 1, 2017.  The process for obtaining a trademark takes 8-10 months if there are no issues.

Still, the question is whether or not the Hardys can use the gimmick without repercussions from Impact Wrestling lawyers.

There are a number of scenarios to consider.

The first is what does the contract say.  One would think that the terms of their contract with Impact Wrestling would dictate who has control of the intellectual property, then again, TNA did not secure its right to the intellectual property rights by not filing for the trademark.  Since Hardy filed for the trademark, one would think that he might be in breach of his contract by attempting to assert his rights when/if they contracted with TNA.

But trademarks are just one issue to discuss.  Trademarks protect items that help define a company brand, or in this case, performers.  With a trademark, the Hardys can monetize the Broken Matt Hardy brand through selling t-shirts or other merchandise.

There is also the issue of copyright protection for the Matt Hardy gimmick.  A copyright protects “original works of authorships.”  For the most part, a copyright would protect the use of characters.  In this case, a copyright would be created through the Hardys’ gimmicks of Broken Matt Hardy and Brother Nero.

With respect to the copyrighted material, we assume like most professional wrestlers, they were classified as an independent contractor.  Thus, a “work for hire” scenario in which TNA would own the characters since the creation occurred during the Hardys employment would not apply.  Under the theory of “work for hire” an employee’s invention or creation would be owned by the employer considering that it was within the scope of employment.  Going back to the terms of the contract, usually, even if a worker is considered an independent contractor, the contractor would include a provision that would assignment of the intellectual property would fall in favor of the contractor.  In this case, TNA.

We note that a Copyright search, as of March 30, 2017, of “Matt Hardy” reveals Copyrights owned by the WWE in 2011.  A search for “Broken Matt Hardy” yielded nothing.  A search for Brother Nero (Jeff Hardy’s character, revealed no Copyright licenses.

The character issue is similar in nature to what occurred with the character Stephen Colbert when the individual Stephen Colbert left Comedy Central to replace David Letterman as the host of The Late Show on CBS.  Courts have found cartoon or fictional characters to be protected by copyright if they are sufficiently distinct and unique.  For instance, as this article points out Superman, Mickey Mouse and Tarzan are all protected under copyright law.

In comparison, the WWE tends to trademark its characters currently under contract.  It also trademarks phrases that it might market (i.e., make into t-shirts).  Notably, at Wrestlemania 29, held on March 29, 2015, Brock Lesnar used the phrase “Suplex City” during his match.  The next day, March 30, WWE filed for the trademark.  The WWE had trademarks for the Hardys WWE gimmick but let it lapse when they left the company.

As stated, the WWE holds some copyright licenses over Matt Hardy, but nothing related to the “Broken” gimmick he developed in Impact Wrestling.

Impact Wrestling “wrote off” the Hardys gimmick in an episode after the duo were released from their contract.

In response, on Matt Hardy’s YouTube page, the Hardys recreated their Impact Wrestling characters to give their own ending of their stint at Impact Wrestling.  Will Impact Wrestling take legal action for the Hardys’ latest reincarnation of their characters?  Probably not, although if this continues, you might see them flexing legal muscle.

While many might think this exercise in examination is ridiculous, it really is entertainment and intellectual property law wrapped up in the world of professional wrestling.  It does have serious legal repercussions when you think of the right to make money off the characters.  Will Impact Wrestling seek a cut of the Hardys future use of the gimmick if they go to WWE? Think about the independent wrestling shows and autograph shows in which they are paid a fee to attend.  Would Impact Wrestling want a cut of their appearance fees?  Will the WWE seek to acquire the gimmick if the Hardys make a return?  Does the loss of the gimmick hurt the future employment of the Hardys?  There are a lot of issues in the business-side in the creation of a gimmick.

2015: The year in pro wrestling

January 9, 2016

We leave the last review of 2015 to that of professional wrestling.

Let’s do some quick hits before we get to the high spots.

  • New Japan debuted on AXS TV to rave reviews. Mauro Ranallo and Josh Barnett served as the English commentators for the shows.
  • Ranallo recently made the move from New Japan and commentating boxing events to being the voice for WWE’s Smackdown. He debuted as the new voice as it the Smackdown brand moved from USA to SyFy this year.
  • Lucha Underground on the El Rey Network was the most-talked about independent hit. The mix of telenovela and independent wrestling action served as something different for wrestling fans.  The second season of the show was in peril as it lacked the necessary funding and a television deal.  However, news surfaced late in the year that it would return to the El Rey Network for a second season starting in January.
  • ESPN and the WWE entered into a partnership in which the sports cable network will feature a weekly segment with WWE wrestlers. 2015 saw ESPN expand a little more into the world of entertainment which included covering Summerslam (which was in Brooklyn, NY this year) and the announcement of Brock Lesnar’s re-signing with the WWE.
  • Lesnar’s signing in early 2015 was big news as it seemed as though he was going to head back to the UFC. He was in attendance at UFC 184 in Los Angeles. He re-signed with Vince McMahon in LA as the WWE was at the Staples Center at the time.  Also in LA at about the same time was Dana White who was promoting the Aldo-McGregor fight.
  • The much maligned TNA Wrestling organization was dropped by SpikeTV and then picked up by Destination America.  Soon thereafter, Ring of Honor was added to Destination America as a syndicated show for the network.  However, it has since moved once again to POP TV.
  • Ronda Rousey appeared with The Rock at WrestleMania in Santa Clara, California. The annual event drew in $139 million in economic impact for the Santa Clara/San Francisco region.
  • The WWE and TapouT announced a joint venture in which performers would wear the former MMA brand which revamped itself into an athletic performance brand.
  • The WWE was one of the many sports leagues to announces a deal with a fantasy sports operator as it announced a deal with DraftKings.

Hulk Hogan banished from WWE as a results of racist comments

Hulk Hogan was terminated by the WWE this past July after audio of a racist rant surfaced.  The audio relates to racist remarks he made 9 years ago.  It appears that the discovery was made as a result of an ongoing Gawker lawsuit in which the former pro wrestler sued the media outlet for publishing a sex tape.  Hogan’s Gawker lawsuit continues into this year as a trial date last summer was continued.

CM Punk sued by WWE physician

UFC contracted fighter CM Punk was sued by a WWE physician for libel.  The lawsuit stems from comments Punk made on Colt Cabana’s podcast about the type of medical treatment he received from the doctor while with the company.  The podcast was one of the most listened to podcasts from Cabana, who was also named in the lawsuit.  A motion to dismiss the case by Punk and Cabana’s lawyers was denied and the lawsuit continues.

More head injury lawsuits filed

The estate of former WWE performer Nelson Lee Frazier sued the WWE for wrongful death as a result of multiple head injuries/concussions while a wrestler with the WWE.  Matt Osborne’s estate filed a similar lawsuit.  In addition, Billy Jack Haynes,, Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton also filed lawsuits related head injuries they claimed they suffered while working in the WWE.  The WWE is aggressively defending these lawsuits claiming that they were filed by “ambulance chasing” lawyers.  The WWE file motion to transfer the lawsuits to the company’s home state of Connecticut.

In a unique strategy, the WWE filed a lawsuit against several former WWE stars seeking a declaratory judgment against them. The lawsuit would seek a ruling that any allegations of head trauma are “time-barred” by the statute of limitations.

Via our July post:

The WWE strategy is a result of the growing swell of lawsuits filed by former WWE performers claiming that the company knew or should have known about the risks of head trauma and that they suffered injury as a result.  Although not a named defendant in the lawsuit, the WWE names (and blames) plaintiff attorney Konstantine Kyros for the litigation.  It identifies several notice letters (below) which request that the WWE not destroy any information it may have.  The lawsuit identifies the existing lawsuits Kyros has filed on behalf of former WWE stars including Billy Jack Haynes.

The lawsuit requests a court ruling indicating that the defendants’ claims are time-barred by the statutes of limitations/repose under Connecticut law.  Essentially, the defendants did not file their claims on time.  This is always a very hard issue to consider as most of the claims that wrestlers could make occur when they are still contracted by the company.

The WWE Network

What was once thought as a foolish idea, now reveals that the WWE Network was ahead of the curve with it’s over the top platform.  With UFC Fight Pass making efforts to produce more content for its network reflects the fact that digital platforms are not going anywhere.  Of course, we don’t think the UFC is going away from its PPV business but its digital service is becoming more of an economic driver for the company.

The WWE Network has kept its strategy of offering a free month for new subscribers in growing its current paid subscribers.  Further, the expansion of the network to other countries has helped its subscriber base grow.  In January 2015, it surpassed 1 million subscribers.

Q1: 918,000

Q2: 1,156,000

Q3: 1,173,000

The fourth quarter has yet to be reported, but through September 2015, the WWE has brought in almost 2.3 million unique subscribers and half of those were active as of September 2015.

The Wrestling Post 2014 year in review

January 6, 2015

2014 was supposed to be a big year for the WWE.  With the launch of its network and its media rights fees up for grabs, the company stock skyrocketed on speculation that the company would become an instant revenue-generating machine.  The stock went as high as $31.39 in March but fell to $10.85 just two months later due to market realities.

WWE Network Launches

In February, the WWE launched it’s over the top network which came with much anticipation and fanfare.  Despite technological issues from launch, people were still bullish on the network.  But the momentum came to a halt with the reveal of the first subscriber numbers.  With a target of gaining 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014, the WWE officially reported just slightly over 667,000 at the end of the second quarter.  It then just grew to 731,000 viewers at the end of the third quarter.

The WWE initially offered the network for $9.99 with a 6 month commitment.  It’s key selling point from the start was that those who signed up would receive Wrestlemania for just $9.999 instead of the traditional price point of $60-$70.

After sluggish numbers, it allowed a free month preview in November.  It also eliminated the 6 month commitment so that no one would be latched on by a 6 month commitment.

It was known that the WWE would lose money this year due to starting the network and essentially losing its PPV business.  But, it appears at this point it overestimated the subscriber interest in the network.  With the rollout of the network in other countries, the WWE hopes that its subscribers will grow as well.

Wrestlemania still an economic boon

Wrestlemania XXX in New Orleans generated an economic impact for the region of $142.2 million which is a record for Wrestlemanias and the third straight year it has generated over $100 million in positive economic impact for its host city.  With Wrestlemania available on the WWE Network and on PPV, the total amount of viewers exceeded 1 million.

WWE renews rights with NBCU

In May, the WWE renewed its media rights with NBC Universal.  Immediately after the announcement, stock shares dropped which would indicate that the deal was not near what investors had wished.  The initial hope was to double its prior deal of $140,000 to $280,000.  However, this did not happen.  Low advertising rates and the negative perception of its programming likely held back the WWE’s hopes for a NASCAR or MLS-like deal.

Ring of Honor on PPV

In June, wrestling promotion Ring of Honor tried its hand at traditional PPV.  It was a way for ROH’s parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting, to see where it could take the company.  Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer reported 10,000 buys which was the break even mark for the company.  In comparison, kickboxing organization, Glory only had 6,000 PPV buys for its PPV held the same weekend in June.

TNA Wrestling leaves SpikeTV

In July, TMZ Sports broke the news that Spike TV was not renewing Impact Wrestling for 2015.  Despite initial reports that the sides were still negotiating an extension, it was confirmed that 2014 would be the end of the road for the 2 hour show on the network.  In November, TNA announced it had signed a pact with Discovery Communications for its show to air on Destination America starting Friday, January 16th.  Coincidentally, it is the same night that New Japan Wrestling premieres on AXS TV.

Lucha Underground debuts on El Rey

A new lucha libre, telenovela-style show backed by Mark Burnett (of Survivor and The Apprentice fame) debuted in October.  The show was made available in English and Spanish.  It has received rave reviews although the ratings have not mirrored the praise.  It is a different type of show which infuses drama and action.

Former wrestler sues WWE in first concussion lawsuit

In October, former WWE wrestler Billy Jack Haynes sued the WWE claiming that the company knew of the inherent risks its wrestlers took when it allowed them to perform stunts which included taking shots to the head causing head injuries.  Haynes and his attorneys are seeking class action status.  The lawsuit, filed in the federal district court of Oregon, is ongoing and the WWE lawyers have requested an extension of time to answer the Complaint.

New Japan Pro Wrestling

The Japanese wrestling promotion will make its way to American television in January 2015 as it will appear on AXS TV starting Friday, January 16th.  13 episodes will run on the network and will have the broadcast team of Mauro Ranallo and Josh Barnett dubbing in the commentary.

In following in the footsteps of the WWE, New Japan unveiled its own over the top streaming network for 999 yen or $8.40 U.S. Wrestling fans may start to see more of New Japan in 2015.

The Wrestling Post – 11.24.14

November 24, 2014

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  In this post, TNA finds a new TV deal and New Japan comes to America.

TNA finds its Destination

Last week, TNA Wrestling announced a multi-year TV deal with Destination America. TNA ends it run with Spike TV at the end of the year.

Destination America, which launched in May 2012, is owned by Discovery Communications and is in almost 60 million households.  The question is will most people know they have the channel.  TNA Wrestling will move to Destination America in January 2015.

Via TNA press release:

“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.”

Payout Take:   TNA goes from being in 98.7 million homes (Spike TV) to 60 million.  The good news is that it found a television home.  We shall see how it will do on its new home and how it will market itself so that viewers will want to find it.

New Japan to AXS TV

New for 2015.  New Japan Wrestling on American television.  AXS TV has acquired 13 episodes from New Japan Pro Wrestling and will air on Friday nights at 9pm ET/6pm PT according to a press release.

More from the press release:

“With this acquisition, AXS TV FIGHTS now offers one of the most diverse combat sports and sports entertainment programming line-ups on television,” said AXS TV FIGHTS CEO Andrew Simon. “There is a strong relationship and influence between professional wrestling and MMA, and with the addition of Josh Barnett and Mauro Ranallo as our commentators, we’re confident this new venture will be a crossover hit with wrestling and MMA fans alike.”AXS TV’s NJPW episodes were produced by and purchased from TV ASAHI CORPORATION.

NJPW will serve as the lead-in to the weekly Friday night live MMA, Muay Thai and/or kickboxing broadcasts.  Josh Barnett and Mauro Ranallo will provide commentary for the series.  It’s an interesting acquisition and will draw the eyes of many wrestling fans that have heard about NJPW but have never seen entire matches.

The Wrestling Post: Spike TV does not renew TNA Impact Wrestling

July 28, 2014

TMZ Sports first reported that TNA Impact Wrestling on Spike TV will not be renewed by the network.  The company has been with Spike TV since October 2005.

While ratings usually hover around 1.2 million viewers on Thursday nights and once served as lead-in for Bellator, the promotion has fallen on hard times.  Attendance and finances have been the leading causes for the downturn in what is the de facto number 2 professional wrestling company.

According to Dave Meltzer on Sunday night’s Wrestling Observer podcast, the TMZ report has been confirmed by people within TNA.  The current deal runs through October although it’s not clear whether Spike TV will continue to air it through the end of the deal.

Recently, King Mo re-emerged with the organization and it’s not clear whether he will continue on as part-time wrestler, part-time MMA fighter if TNA continues on another network.

Payout Take:  It’s an interesting move on the part of Spike TV to cancel TNA as it does have a following of at least 1 million viewers each week.  Compare that with Bellator ratings and TNA would seemingly be safe on the network.  Perhaps TNA is going a different direction here.  As for TNA, it’s not clear if the company will fold or seek to find another network to air on.  But, if you look at the WWE’s rights fee deal, pro wrestling may not be a burgeoning property in the television industry.

Lawal, Lashley and Kongo added to 9/5 Bellator card

July 16, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that King Mo Lawal, Cheick Kongo and Bobby Lashley have been added to Bellator 123 which takes place on September 5th in Connecticut.  Lashley is a pro wrestler with TNA Wrestling and is currently its Heavyweight champion.

In addition to his pro wrestling experience, Lashley has competed in MMA.  The move attempts to bulk up an already stacked card which is headlined by Pat Curran defending his Featherweight title against Patricio Freire.

Bellator 123

The current card via Bellator press release:

MAIN CARD:

Bellator Featherweight Title Fight: Pat Curran (20-5) vs. Patricio Pitbull (21-2)

Bellator Heavyweight Feature Fight: Cheick Kongo (21-9) vs. Lavar Johnson (18-9)

Bellator Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: King Mo (12-4) vs. Tom DeBlass (9-2)

Bellator Heavyweight Feature Fight: Bobby Lashley (10-2) vs. Josh Burns (8-7)

The Bellator card will go head to head with a UFC Fight Night card that has been bulked up due to the cancellation of UFC 176.  The card, which takes place at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut is headlined by Gegard Mousasi taking on Ronaldo Souza.

Payout Perspective:

September 5th will be a big night for MMA fans as it’s the first time the two organizations go head-to-head on television and in the same state.  The signing of Lashley is somewhat surprising but it does add name recognition for the crossover pro wrestling fans.  With TNA Wrestling taping most of its shows through August already, it’s unlikely that Bellator can take advantage of the crossover on its weekly TNA shows (which draw over 1M viewers) unless it edits in info about Lashley in voiceovers.  Lawal and Kongo also make sense as Lawal can sell his fights and the ratings reflect that Kongo (for some reason) produces good ratings for Bellator.

The Wrestling Post – 04.18.14

April 18, 2014

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  In this edition we write about a new PPV announced, DirecTV plays hard ball and the latest ratings from Total Divas.

Ring of Honor tries PPV Sunday June 22nd

This week Ring of Honor announced that it would be holding its first PPV ever for the company Sunday, June 22nd.

Notably, the ROH PPV is the same weekend as Glory’s first PPV and a week after TNA Wrestling’s PPV, Slammiversary.  ROH had previously put on iPPVs with some noted difficulties.

The Sinclair Broadcasting-owned ROH have expanded its reach with its weekly show as more affiliates carry ROH.  Of course, it’s at 1:00 am on Friday night here in Seattle so you can still DVR the show. Hopefully promotion of the PPV will attract fans to buy the PPV.

Payout Take:  The PPV can be seen as ROH capitalizing on the WWE popularity and its champion – Daniel Bryan worked Ring of Honor for some time.  104,000 buys is the unofficial number of ECW’s very first PPV – Barely Legal in 1997.  We shall see if ROH can do better in 2014.  ROH has more financial backing and should put on more of a polished product.  Obviously PPV has evolved since the late 1990s and we will see which satellite/cable companies pick up the PPV but it will be an interesting comparison.

DirecTV drops WWE PPVs

Earlier this week, DirecTV announced that it would no longer offer WWE PPVs to its subscribers per PW Torch.  WWE did release a statement acknowledging the move by the satellite company.  “Yes, DIRECTV has decided to stop offering our PPV’s residentially and commercially. The only other option would be to work through the local cable provider.”

DirecTV did leave an out that it may return to carrying WWE PPVs.  You may recall that the Dish Network first announced that it would no longer carry the company’s PPVs since it launched its digital network.  However, the distributor changed its mind and carried Wrestlemania XXX.  The domestic buys for Wrestlemania XXX, the first PPV carried on the WWE Network, drew 400,000 purchases.

Payout Take:  While the WWE is hoping for the success of its network, it still seeks its distributors to continue to carry its PPV.  Distributors such as DTV and Dish saw this as a direct hit against its profits from the WWE PPVs.  We all knew that the WWE Network would cannibalize its PPV profits but would benefit the WWE bottom line in the long run.  We will see whether DTV stands it ground. It has played hard ball in the past.  One need only look at the acrimonious negotiations between DTV and the Pac 12 Network and The Weather Channel to see it doesn’t back down.

Total Divas ratings

Episode 4 for the second season of Total Divas on E! scored 1.164 million viewers for a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49 according to Television By Numbers.   The episode was the first in two weeks having taken off for Wrestlemania XXX Sunday.

The 1.164 million is the second-lowest rating this season for the reality show.  This season’s average is at 1.26 million viewers.

The Wrestling Post – 11.28.13

November 28, 2013

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  In this edition we talk Total Divas renewal and TNA’s new television deals.

Total Divas renewed for second season

With the ratings success of Total Divas, it was given an extended first season and now comes news that it will be given a second season.

Via Variety:

“Total Divas” has averaged 1.4 million total viewers since its summer debut, making it one of E!’s most promising new entries and a strong performer on Sunday nights in the 18-34 demo. From WWE and Bunim-Murray Prods., series centers on the lives of femme WWE stars both inside and outside of the ring.

Total Divas ratings took a step back this week with the first rating under 1 million viewers this past week but this may be due in part to the NFL (Broncos-Patriots) and the company’s own PPV, Survivor Series.

Payout Take:  The reality show was one of three new reality shows the network announced as returning for another season.  It received an optimum amount of push by the WWE (with promotion during its programming) and by E! as its primary lead-in was the network’s highest rated show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

TNA Wrestling forges TV agreement in Japan and Australia      

TNA Wrestling announced an agreement with the Nippon Television Network Corporation.  TNA Impact Wrestling will be seen every Saturday and PPVs will be shown monthly.  In addition, it has signed a two-year deal with Fuel TV Australia.  In addition to the weekly program in Australia, TNA will introduce shoulder programming to complement TNA in Australia.

Payout Take:  The agreements abroad appear to be ways to expand the TNA brand and maybe keep the company afloat amidst rumors of its financial trouble. On another note, Sports Illustrated featured TNA’s head Dixie Carter in an interesting read about how her family decided to purchase a majority interest in the company.

Bellator 98 replay show ratings increase from live show

September 14, 2013

Ratings for a replay of Bellator 98 on Thursday were up as compared to its live viewing last Saturday night.  Thursday’s airing scored 556,000 viewers as opposed to 437,000 viewers for its live viewing.

Bellator 98’s lead-in, TNA Impact Wrestling scored 1.3 million viewers for a 0.5 share.  The numbers were impressive for a night opposite NFL Football featuring the New York Jets and New England Patriots.  According to Television By Numbers, the NFL game scored 8.79 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

A nice bounce bank for Bellator although the ratings are still low for a live event.  No word on Friday night’s live event from Temecula but it will be interesting to see.  The boost in ratings on a night opposite NFL, is interesting and may persuade me into thinking more that the pro wrestling lead-in helps.

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