A British Point of View: Vince and Newcastle & TNA and UK TV

Martyn Nolan

Could Vince really own a UK Football Club?

The UK has made some Wrestling headlines for a change! Oh damn! It’s regarding TNA… never mind then!

Seriously, the news of TNA heading to Challenge TV in the UK is pretty big for Dixie Carter and her partners in crime Hulk Hogan and Eric Bishoff. It gives them more chance to sugar-coat over their existing problems.
 
Let me explain the pros and cons of this deal (I do apologise as I will have to tell you how the UK television scene works.)
 
Within the UK our television systems are slightly different than that of the cable networks of America.
 
The UK has two main television suppliers. Freeview and SKY TV (British people might be shouting that there are more but I’m trying to keep this simple!)
 
Freeview is fairly easy to explain as the title suggests. It offers up to 50 channels without any additional costs. You pay for the set-top box and that’s it. Freeview only offers the certain TV channels within the UK and most programmes and films will reach SKY first.
 
SKY is a similar product but they have most of the licensing rights in the UK. They show films on TV years before they are allowed to show them through the freeview channels and they also include documentaries and obviously sport. You may have heard of SKY Sports but they now show pretty much every sporting event they can. The down side to having SKY is that you have to pay a monthly fee to watch these channels. There are many channel packages you can buy including a basic channel set and then just add others such as sports and movies. Obviously if you have all the channels this can easily reach £50 a month (about $80)
 
TNA however, has in the past been broadcasted on a different SKY channel called Bravo. Bravo is a channel that was operated under the basic package and as long as you paid the smallest fee to SKY you got this channel included. Bravo has now finished its operations and TNA has moved to Challenge TV. The big difference here is that Challenge TV is a channel that is available through SKY and Freeview!
 
Now people who cannot afford to pay monthly fees to watch television can watch TNA. This will allow for a lot of exposure to people who have never had SKY and can now access and view some wrestling (If that’s what you want to call it at the moment!)
 
According to figures over 9.7 million people within the UK currently have SKY TV. Bare in mind that the population of the UK is well over 60 million, this means that TNA can potentially target an audience of 50 million people for the first time!
 
Granted these values are only approximated but you can imagine the delight that Dixie has when she can start doing her own TV facts flashing across our screens:
 
‘TNA: Did you know? There are 3 times more TNA fans in the UK than WWE!’
 
 
The increase of people following the product will largely dilute any issues that TNA has and for the next few months might make them think they are king of the UK wrestling world. Real fans obviously know different but this is still something pretty big for TNA’s standards. Here’s hoping that they use this newly won fan base wisely and don’t destroy what is left of the UK wrestling fans.
 
As for the latest rumours concerning the WWE within the UK, news came out a couple of days ago that Vince McMahon was negotiating with Mike Ashley for the purchase of Newcastle United Football Club.
 
For my American readers this could be considered a big deal for both football and wrestling fans.
 
Newcastle United play at St. James’ Park which is a stadium capable of holding 52,000 football fans, it was opened in 1892 and is classed as one of the great football stadiums in the UK.
 
Why should Vince be interested in this club? The question is really why not? The club got valued at £100 million last year and in dollars that is most probably about $159 million. The club has got back into the top football league within the last year and has an amasing fan base. This stadium always gets a great attendance rate and I would imagine that they would only ever make money from it.
 
Plus there is the WWE aspect. Imagine the PPV events he could hold at St. James’ Park. The stadium could easily hold 68,000 for a wrestling event and it could easily be added to one of the European Tours that WWE provide now.
 
The chances of having another SummerSlam in the UK would be increased dramatically, especially seeing as football are not played at the stadium during summer months and may also invite new fans to start following the product.
 
Unfortunately this seems to be nothing more than a rumour but surely it could be a sensible option for the McMahon family? Many people have spoken about how they could invest in a NBA or NHL team but surely that would assist the competition of the WWE? Newcastle would be a perfect place to advertise your products without fear of it taking options and viewership away from the WWE. More events within Europe could bring fans the chance to see something in person rather than just through a TV set and ultimately bring more money into the WWE.
 
Alas, it doesn’t seem to be happening but I’m sure all us UK fans will be praying for the chance to get another PPV on our shores.
 
Check the following links out for some of my other work this week:
 
Victor M. Ruiz Podcast:
 
If you’re interested in hearing my opinion on this Sunday’s Royal Rumble then you can listen to my interview on the  Victor Ruiz Podcast available through iTunes and through this link:
 
 
Wrestleslam Magazine:
 
You can also read my thoughts in the first edition of Wrestleslam Magazine available at:
 
 
Should you want to get in touch about my column, involvement with the magazine or an opinion on my interview then please feel free to email me at beansontoastuk@msn.com or you can get me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beansontoastuk
 
Martyn
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