The President of TNA, Dixie Carter, recently spoke with The Tennessean about a variety of topics, including the continued growth of TNA Wrestling, whether she thinks the company is competition to WWE, and what the future holds for the second-largest promotion in North America.
On changes within the company:
We’re not just a wrestling company anymore. We do our own booking. We do our own promotion and public relations. We’re a licensing company. We have toys, Halloween costumes, trading cards. We make our own music. All of those things are sold and promoted around the world. But we still do more than 500 hours of television a year.
On competing with WWE:
I don’t care who you are, competition makes you better. There’s a reason there’s a Lowe’s across the street from every Home Depot and a CVS across the street from every Walgreens. I think we’ve made WWE better, just as they’ve improved us.
On thriving in financially difficult times:
It’s a challenging time for the television industry as advertising dollars are dwindling. But it’s the best time to focus on fans. I try to be out in the crowds shaking hands, hugging people and holding babies and saying, “Thank you for being here.” We’ve grown this company one fan at a time. I’ve been there as a small-business startup. I know what it’s like. But we just happened to beat the odds.
Speaking about misconceptions about professional wrestling:
Besides that wrestling is fake, which is certainly isn’t. Just the way the industry has treated sponsors, the media or just people in general. Wrestling had a bad reputation for a while. People thought it was trashy. But that’s changing. I went to a legitimate sports network and the head of the company said, “Are you kidding? We have the Lakers and everything else.” I popped in a tape and he said, “OK, let’s talk.”
On TNA's on-going challenges:
When a company first starts out, you have to do whatever you can to get into the business. Then, once you’re established, you spend a lot of time getting out of all the bad contracts that got you into the business. Deals with companies, bad partnerships or licensing deals. We’re still working through some of those now that we’ve found our footing.
On the next trend in the sport:
Maybe pulling back the curtain a little more. People now are so reality driven. The way we view wrestling in the coming years might respond to some of that. Fans will be able to see a little bit more than they’re used to. They’ll be able to see more of the wrestlers’ unscripted emotions and drama.
The entire interview can be found at http://www.tennessean.com/article/20111204/BUSINESS/312040031/Exec-grows-wrestling-firm-one-fan-time?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Business