WWE’s about to have seven hours (at least) of product on television each week. All Elite will have two. MLW, Impact, and New Japan have shows which are on channels with less reach than USA, TNT and Fox, but are combined with streaming availability to be real options for a lot of folks. The NWA recently announced their plans for a new weekly series.
It’s a lot of wrestling. And Disney’s sell-off of regional Fox Sports networks just likely added another hour to the list of options for fans in the United States.
That’s because Ring of Honor’s parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting, announced they’ve acquired more than 20 regional cable sports channels from Disney, who bought them along with 21st Century Fox Studios but were ordered to liquidate the networks by the U.S. Department of Justice as owning them along with ESPN was seen as an anti-trust violation.
Sinclair already owns a lot of local broadcast channels, and a few cable ones, too (why that type of consolidation of ownership isn’t considered monopolistic, I’ll leave to media and legal scholars). And they’ve put Ring of Honor’s existing weekly show, ROH TV, on pretty much every one they own. The company bought the promotion for cheap content, after all. There’s no reason to believe ROH TV won’t show up on Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports Sun, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Ohio, SportsTime Ohio, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Carolina, Fox Sports Tennessee, Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox Sports New Orleans, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Kansas City, Fox Sports Indiana, Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Sports West, and Prime Ticket as soon as possible.
Now, it’s quite possible that ROH TV will air on those channels in a sub-optimal and/or inconsistent time slot, so I wouldn’t expect Ring of Honor to join the Wednesday Night War any time soon or anything like that. But it’s probably about to become possible for more fans to seek out or stumble across Matt Taven, Dalton Castle and The Briscoes on a regular basis. Which should be good for them and the other names on the ROH roster. It might also help the company strengthen their relationships with international partners New Japan & CMLL.
It’s a deal which could affect the overall landscape of pro wrestling. Will it? Stay tuned.