TNA Impact: UK Broadcast Future In Doubt As Sky Plans to Pull Bravo Channel

James MolloyContributor ISeptember 16, 2010

BSkyB is to close Bravo as part of the integration of Living TV Group in the UK.BSkyB is understood to have decided to jettison Bravo, which launched as a cable channel in 1985, because it reaches a similar demographic to Sky1 but is not believed to have the same brand equity or reach.

Bravo has been home to TNA Impact for quite a while now in the UK and was also responsible for bringing the UFC across to TV screens in the UK. It is comparable to Spike TV in the States as a channel aimed at men.

TNA had quite good ratings on Bravo, in fact TNA's UK ratings often outdid WWE's uk ratings. There are many reasons for this and personally I believe WWE is still the main US promotion for most people in the UK and Ireland but Bravo was available on a more basic Digital TV platform whereas Sky Sports (home of WWE programming) is a premium channel

So what next for Impact?BSkyB intends to "redeploy" the channels' programming, with pay-TV shows moving to other Sky channels and free-to-air fare mostly moving to Sky3. Unfortunatley despite the statement relased by TNA expressing high confidence in TNA's place due to it's rating I can't see a major channel picking it up. 

  • Sky sports will not touch TNA as it has a multiyear deal with WWE and has also recently signed up for the ultimate fighter franchise.
  •  ESPN may express an interest but the number of subscribers ESPN has in the UK is low and mainly soccer orientated although they have had success screening UFC PPV's TNA's audience would suffer badly by moving

All this leaves in my view TNA's most likely new home the Extreme Sports Channel.This channel is already home to TNA's PPV's and Xplosion but is unpopular with viewers. They made a hash of the first couple of PPV's the covered cuttting one short and scheduling the full version against Wrestlemania 26 been the highlight of their run with TNA programming. The channel website has no mention on the homepage of TNA just the extreme sports they cover. To top it all off the channel has a much smaller subscriber base than bravo as it comes as an add on to Sky Sports and any wrestling fan who has sky sports probably has TNA as an after thought.

The merger of BskyB and Living and the reprecussions that could have for impact could also affect some of the UK talent Impact utilises as use of this talent is in part intended to appeal to the UK market but thats a discussion for another day.

Thanks for the read and any questions let me know