Pro Wrestling Illustrated recently interviewed former WCW and WWE star Chris Jericho. The subject of TNA Wrestling came up and Jericho had the following to say, “I just think a company with that much talent should be doing better than they are. They’ve had the same ratings for the last three years. It’s just unacceptable with the amount of talent they have there, just as a business. I run my own business as well. I run the business of “Fozzy.” And if somebody’s not performing and we’re not getting bigger, than something has to change. So I just wish they would look at it that way, instead of relying on the same old things and the same old people. They’ve been trying different things and something isn’t clicking. They’ve had the same million and a half viewers for the last three years.
Just as an outsider looking in—as any business owner looking in—if you had the same return or the same results after three years, maybe you might want to try something different to make it grow. But maybe that’s their ceiling. Maybe that’s what they can get. And if they can make a profit with that and have a successful company with one a half million people, they don’t care about doing anything differently. It’s not my concern. I’m just calling it as I see it as a business owner and as a fan of wrestling. I would love nothing more than for TNA to get 2 million viewers, 3 million viewers, 10 million viewers. Whatever it takes, I’d love to see that happen. I pull for them every time I hear about them.”
While I agree with Jericho that you want to grow a business year to year I think it’s a mistake to focus on television ratings as the main metric. The bottom line as always is profit and since TNA does not have a cut of the ad dollars from iMPACT! the ratings do not matter to them nearly as much as to Spike TV. If a million and a half is making Spike a return on their licensing fee that is the main concern. Granted increased viewership will grow the business. But there are many other ways to increase profit with the existing viewership, such as licensing and touring. So it is entirely possible the business has increased without seeing it in the ratings. I’m sure if it hasn’t increased there would be heads rolling.