AS I SEE IT 5/24: How much "Impact" will it really have?
by: Bob Magee As the officially scheduled date of June 4th begins for the new NWA-TNA "Impact" show airing on Fox Sports Network, there are questions as to what "impact" the show will really have to promote potential buys for the promotion's weekly Wednesday night PPVs.
Mike Johnson reported last Tuesday afternoon on PWinsider.com that "TNA Impact" will not be airing on Comcast SportsNet in the Philadelphia area, the fourth largest Neilsen rated TV market as noted by Neilsen Media. The cable network is carried in Philadelphia, southeastern Pennsylvania, southern/central New Jersey and northern Delaware (ranging as far north as Scranton, PA and as far south as Dover, DE) for Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner/Urban Cable Works systems all over the region.
Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, while technically not a Fox Sports Network affiliate, does air many FSN shows, including FOX Sports Net Across America, AFL Weekly, Totally NASCAR, Beyond the Glory, Sunday Night Fights, I...Max, and The Best Damned Sports Show, Period. The decision not to air Impact was apparently made by the Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia programming manager, with Comcast staffers telling Johnson the show was "not something the station is currently interested in airing."
In another potential block to its attempt to achieve national coverage, Johnson reported the next day that Comcast Sportsnet Mid Atlantic (the former Home Team Sports), which is seen on cable systems in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, will air the show...at 4:00 am...sometimes. Even this 4:00 am timeslot will see Impact pre-empted twice in the first month of the show's airing...for replays of Baltimore Orioles baseball games on June 11 and June 25. The "national" Friday 3:00 pm timeslot is instead being used by WorldLink TV, a service which broadcasts international news and documentaries.
Moving on... Orlando, where "TNA Impact" will be taped (at Universal Studios), doesn't have FSN/Florida on its major cable system Time -Warner (those with Adelphia and Brighthouse cable services do have FSN/Florida). Unless Sunshine Network picks it up, the show won't air in a significant portion of the very town it is taped in.
I've also noticed that a number of Fox Sports affliates are also currently airing the new and heavily promoted "I, Max" show (with former ESPN personality Max Kellerman) in the Friday 3:00 pm timeslot (even though it's listed at a 6:00 pm time on network promos, including Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports New England 1, Fox Sports Pittsburgh, and Fox Sports Ohio. There's no word on how, what, or if changes will be made in this schedule, given how widely this show has been promoted on Fox Sports Net affiliates.
Even with that promotion of "I, Max", the show only attracted an audience of an 0.08 national rating (approximately 64,000 homes) according to this week's Wrestling Observer. As a matter of comparison, ECW's national show on TNN drew a rating of 0.9 (or over 10 times as large as this heavily promoted Kellerman show), and that at a time when wrestling was hotter...and with a promotion that had one of the most fanatical fan bases ever. If viewers aren't tuning in to such a heavily promoted show as "I, Max" by this former ESPN personality, one wonders how many viewers will be watching this "TNA Impact" show...which has received no advertising support by Fox Sports Net as of this writing.
Then, if that wasn't bad enough, wrestling star Sting (who TNA uses to promote their shows several times an hour on TNA Explosion by stating that TNA is the "only place you can see Sting")...proceeded to tell an IGN.com interviewer "I'm not an NWA wrestler....Jerry [Jarrett] gave me my break, so I decided to go out and help them out. I did four shows for them last year, but that was it." Sting further stated he'd consider a deal with WWE, and had even discussed a specific deal with Vince McMahon previously, which "the lawyers got in the way of".
Next, a more positive reminder of a special independent wrestling weekend this June...
NWA Florida will present the second annual Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup, a two night Cruiserweight tournament on June 4th and 5th at Brandon All Stars in Brandon, FL on June 4 and the St. Petersburg National Guard Armory on June 5 (two shows...an afternoon and an evening show).
The brackets of those participating in this year’s Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup is as follows:
These independent talents have also been signed by NWA Florida for non-tournament matches on the Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup shows:
Additionally, the acrobatic Jack Evans has challenged NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Champion Jerelle Clark to a battle of the 630's.
NWA Florida Vice President Ron Niemi said, "I am not sure it will be possible to live up to expectations after the amazing tournament last year but we are going to do our best to honor the name of a young man who meant a hell of a lot to all of us. Jeff Peterson was a true class act and like a little brother to anybody that met him in this business and we are proud to be able to present a tournament in his name once again this year and hope the fans will come out and pay tribute to a friend that we all miss dearly."
NWA Florida owner/President Joe Price said "This will truly be the independent event of the year, and suiting of the memory of a great individual like Jeff Peterson, over the next few weeks we will continue to announce additional names for the non-tournament matches that will have fans from all over the country coming to this charitable event!"
Portions of the proceeds from both nights will be donated in Jeff Peterson's name to the Tarpon Springs Cops and Kids program. Tarpon Springs, FL Police Chief Mark LeCouris and NWA Florida have worked together for 2 years to benefit the Cops and Kids program.
Tickets for the Jeff Peterson weekend can be purchased and donations made online at Petersoncup.com.
Ticket prices are:
If you're in Florida or can travel there, come honor a hero of the heart this June with the Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup.
Those traveling to the event that need a hotel room can click on this link for reservations at the official hotel of the Peterson Cup, Red Roof Inn. Make sure to mention code CP526991 for a discounted rate of only $35.99 per night. You can also call (813) 623-5245 for reservations.
And finally...take a moment today to remember Owen Hart. Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of his death on that tragic night at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City.
Until next time...
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