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13 October 2013

TNA's Permanent Home...or Homes?


Recently it's been reported that TNA have started discussing a permanent home for Impact Wrestling. As we know, since going on the road in March, average attendance has not increased, and with the $600,000 bill to put on each show, high attendances are needed for a show to make a good profit. It is said due to the reality of average attendances not being as profitable as first hoped, TNA are looking for a permanent home for their TV tapings, likely to take effect in February/March 2014 after the UK tapings.

There are several rumoured locations for Impact's new home. Currently Nashville, Las Vegas & Orlando. Many are discussing which location they would like TNA to move to, some even suggesting other locations. I however see this a little differently, and pose the question, what if TNA had several permanent locations?

When TNA ran the Impact Zone, there were two benefits crowd wise, 1. they were in the middle of a huge tourist destination that sees thousands of people come through its door's every week, and 2. Entry to the show was free. Because of this, while a good portion of the crowd were regulars, a percentage were new fans that had gone to see the show because they were in the Universal Studio's resort and admission was free, this partly helped with keeping the crowd from burning completely out. If TNA were to go to one location that was an actual arena, after some time fans in the area would stop going due to the cost and the company being in the area on a regular basis. Therefore, having several regular locations could help prevent crowds in those destination's getting burnt out.

The first location I would suggest is Las Vegas. Vegas is already a location that is apparently on TNA's list, and it's there for good reason. Vegas posses an main attribute that made the Impact Zone in Orlando a good location for a regular TV tapings, it is a huge tourist destination. This means the amount of people in the Vegas area is high, and many of those change on a constant basis. This means the chances of crowd burnout is reduced even more, as most of the audience will change between tapings, with only a minority of Vegas residents regularly attending.

The other bonus is what I presume is the front-runner to be TNA's Vegas home, the Orleans Arena. When TNA ran the arena in June, the week of the taping they covered the front of elevators in the hotel & casino with giant posters promoting the show. If TNA were to strike a deal with the Orleans Arena to become a regular attraction, the arena will more than likely ramp up promotion for the events to make them as successful as possible.

The second suggested city is Nashville. TNA's home-base makes a logical choice for a regular location. I'm sure TNA will have some connections in the area, as well as a better scope and knowledge of the best promotion methods to employ in the City, popular radio shows, big stores, TV station's etc. Some may be sceptical after TNA's last show in the city, Lockdown 2012 was known for having a flat crowd throughout the show, however TNA representatives made it clear it was a sound issue, and if you focus on the crowd, you can in-fact see them reacting, but the sound not coming over as loud as it actually was.

The arena they would run is up in the air, would they consider returning to the Asylum? I think a better bet would be the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, which has a capacity of 9,000. Granted they wouldn't fill that capacity, but a benefit of doing these regular location deals would be the rent, as I'm sure they would sign an agreement where the rent would be reduced due to the guaranteed dates and both being local businesses. Becoming a regular attraction for the arena, they will probably do more promotion than an arena for a normal one off event, tie that in with the local promotion TNA will do, events in Nashville should get great promotion, which should equal to strong attendance.

The next location I would suggest is New York City. NYC has been a great host for TNA live events, nine times out of ten having a great crowd that are passionate and vocal, and in 2010 the city held TNA's US attendance record, a record that stood for two years until it was broken by Slammiversary 10. While New York has shown why it is the perfect place to host a televised TNA, as of this writing they have yet to do so. I think a great way to finally give the NYC fans what they have wanted for years is regular TV in the city, The only question in my mind is the venue.

Some say the Hammerstein Ballroom is perfect, as it has an intimate setting and has a capacity of around 2,200, others say its too small and doesn't give a big time image to the show. The venue would be up in the air, but a guarantee that New York City has is the passionate and loud wrestling fans, who will turn out in droves to see what has been a big part of the city for decades.

The final location I would suggest is Dallas. Yes, Dallas is the home of Panda Energy, TNA's parent company, is that my reason, no, but its a bonus. TNA have been to Dallas, specifically Arlington once, and on that trip they broke their US attendance record and almost sold out their 10th anniversary show. Texas is a wrestling state, as proven by the attendances of Slammiversary 10 & Lockdown 2013, and it looked in recent months that TNA wanted to establish themselves in Texas, where they have taken Impact to twice this year.

I think they should return to the College Park Center in Arlington as one of their main taping homes. Its a great arena with a 7,000 seat capacity, with the layout of the arena, its makes 5,000 look like 10,000. The Center is owned by the University of Texas in Arlington, this could be a benefit to TNA as they could make a deal where during the tapings at the arena, they could use students studying in the relevant fields as production hands, which benefits the UTA by giving students work experience at a high level, and TNA who could save money by using students.

Those are the four locations that I would consider for TNA to use as regular taping locations. So if TNA were to use this system after the airing of the final UK Impact, they would have 44 weeks of television left to produce. Lets say they continue to tape two Impact's in one night, that would mean there would be 22 Impact tapings to find locations for. With four home bases and the schedule left, it would mean each location would get at least 5 tapings a year, or a taping every two months. Now take into account TNA may continue to do PPV-Impact's depending on if they stick to four PPV's a year, they could take those Impact's to different locations. If they did 6 during that period, the home bases would then get four tapings a year.

With this system, I think it addresses most problems and gives them reasonable solutions. TNA may be looking for a new home base, but taping in one location could cause the crowd there to be burnt out, therefore why not find 3-4 home bases, it would break up the tapings in each city and do as much as possible to prevent the crowds burning out. It could also be a cheaper option for TNA, by making deals to be a regular attraction, they may see the cost of those tapings decrease, and also see the promotion by the arena's increase. This approach takes them in a way off the road, but it keeps TNA in arena's in front of paying crowds and continues to give the product that major league look. I wasn't really a fan of TNA possibly returning to a permanent home, but after sketching this idea out, I could see it being a great move in several ways for the company.

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