Anthem Makes Financial Impact on TNA Wrestling
Following up on an earlier offer, Anthem Sports & Entertainment said it's provided a credit facility to fund the operations of TNA Impact Wrestling and that Anthem, which also owns equity in the wrestling outfit, will manage TNA's operations, including pay-per-view events and Impact Wrestling shows that air on Pop.
The move follows recent legal challenges between TNA (for Total Nonstop Action) parent Impact Ventures and Billy Corgan, who is the frontman of The Smashing Pumpkins and erstwhile backer and president of TNA. "Billy Corgan is no longer with the company," Anthem and Impact said in a release today. Corgan, though, said in a series of tweets that he had not been paid what TNA "swore to in front of a judge" and that he is exploring all legal remedies, including "converting to 36 pct. equity." Fight Network (which Anthem owns) replied on Twitter, in part, that "(t)here is a solid financial plan for @IMPACTWRESTLING & Mr. Corgan's loan will be dealt with appropriately."
Anthem EVP Ed Nordholm will join the Impact Ventures board of managers, and the board will manage the company, Anthem said. Dixie Carter stays on as company chair and is on the board of managers.
“We have had a successful, long-term partnership with Fight Network as our Canadian broadcaster, and more recently as our global digital partner,” Carter said in a release. “Anthem’s team has extensive media experience, and I am excited to have that available to us as we plan for the future.” Anthem is the parent of Fight Network.
Anthem CEO Leonard Asper said in the release: “We have consistently maintained that investing in content as we grow our distribution is important as a strategic necessity, and working more closely with a strong brand like TNA is in line with that. This financing is an extension of the support we have been providing since the beginning of the year. There are tremendous opportunities to support the company’s growth on all platforms and in all media along side Dixie and the incredible talent and staff at TNA.”
Pop, owned by CBS and Lionsgate, airs Impact Wrestling on Thursday nights year round and has continued to do so through the recent offscreen turmoil involving Carter and Corgan. Pop president Brad Schwartz told Multichannel News in a statement, "Pop remains committed to Impact Wresting and its amazing team and athletes. The show continues to be one of Pop’s most watched original programs with continued quarter over quarter ratings growth. We look forward to what lies ahead.”
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Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.