There has been a ton of talk this week that WWE recently made an offer to purchase TNA Wrestling. Bids also allegedly came from Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns ROH Wrestling, and Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan who is already an investor. All of this is coming in the wake of the onslaught of reports that TNA owes employees' back pay and the company is in an extremely precarious financial position.
TNA was once a promising alternative to WWE and, although always dwarfed, had decent market share in sports entertainment. It should be noted that Panda Energy owns a majority share in TNA after purchasing a 71% interest in the company from the Jarrett family in 2002. This purchase eventually led to the leadership of Dixie Carter (the daughter of the founders of Panda).
Many believe Dixie Carter controlling the company has led to bad business practices, contrite stories, and the fading of TNA as the number two promotion in professional wrestling. Currently, TNA airs on Thursdays on Pop, a cable and satellite channel. Moreover, the company now runs semi-annual pay-per views, free house shows in Universal Studios in Orlando Florida, with the occasional road live events.
Possible Rationale Behind The Acquisition:
At the surface, the need for WWE to own TNA seems non-existent. WWE is without question the leader in sports entertainment and TNA by no means is a competitive threat. However, TNA has a rich catalogue of properties and videos, which could be interesting for WWE. For example, TNA has thousands of hours of AJ Styles' footage. A.J. Styles is now WWE Champion and gaining a head of steam. Of course, he was TNA's most famous homegrown performer and has a rich history of revolutionary matches. This could be used to further bolster the status of Styles and provide fans with his history to come full circle.
Moreover, TNA has hundreds of hours of footage of wrestling legends and notable performers like Sting, Christian, the Dudley Boys, the Hardy Boys, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Abyss, Foley, Flair, EC3, etc. Not to mention, a litany of wrestlers that align with the interest of more knowledgeable wrestling fans that are purists. This would align with WWE's push of indie grown talent like Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Dean Ambrose, etc.
One could also argue that TNA has a decent roster of talent, which could flesh out NXT and eventually be positive additions to the main rosters of Raw and SmackDown. However,buying TNA for their roster does not necessarily make sense. WWE just could pick up talent as they please. Moreover, the emergence of "Broken Matt Hardy" and its popularity has added extra value to the Hardys' footage (if and when he returns to WWE with his brother Jeff Hardy).
With all of that being said, a purchase is not needed. TNA has had some of its best content these last six months. Consequently, it will either use steam and its recent management changes to have a rebirth or will naturally fade away. If the latter is true, WWE could purchase TNA's content for literally pennies on the dollar in the not too distant future and add thousands of hours of footage to the WWE network. Hence, why pay any sort of a premium now?
If WWE were to acquire TNA or its properties it would be a solid move for WWE as a whole. WWE would gain valuable video and properties to bolster the appeal of its network. New fans will have a ton of content to discover and those fans already in the know about TNA will have more footage than they could ever watch. I believe the acquistion of TNA and its properties would be accomplished for, at the absolute most, $2,000,000. I put $2,000,000 at the high end because that is what WWE approximately purchased WCW for (albeit in the early 2000s). Moreover, the TNA doesn't have any value as an operational business. Vince McMahon knows sooner or later TNA will disappear and its library will be available for garage sale prices. Vince McMahon/WWE have barely acknowledged TNA's existence. I really doubt he will go chase it and pay a premium.
The decision to purchase TNA will ultimately come down to the cost. WWE would want to acquire TNA at a rate that's aligned with its content production costs. Of course, the idea would be to get as much footage as possible for as little as possible. As stated above, eventually TNA will succeed or will fade away. Even if someone else purchases TNA, like Billy Corgan, the company still needs to become profitable. It would be a tall task for anyone person or corporation to shoulder the costs of a company that hemorrhages cash.
Ultimately, WWE will purchase TNA's properties within the next couple of years. This could happen in the near future if their bid for TNA is accepted. Moreover, this could happen once new ownership realizes that operating TNA is too costly. TNA has repeatedly lost TV deals and is now on POP, after a short stint on Destination America. TNA's live events outside of Orlando are underwhelming, and TNA's pay per view events have dramatically declined from twelve in 2012 to only two in 2016. Therefore, for all of the above reasons, TNA is ripe for WWE's picking. As stated in my earlier articles, WWE is a buy for the long term and an acquisition of TNA's library would only bolster that argument.
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