On the same day GFW announced Jeff Jarrett was being placed on an indefinite leave and rumors have circulated that Anthem Sports is looking to sell Impact Wrestling and GFW due to huge financial losses, a strange and unexpected development has hit the industry via a recent GFW press release. Global Force Wrestling, a subsidiary of Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp., announced today numerous global and digital expansion initiatives.
Among those initiatives are plans to launch the Global Wrestling Network. This would be a multi-platform digital service designed to give fans around the world instant 24-hour access to the extensive GFW and IMPACT libraries (a la WWE Network). Anthem also plans to launch the IMPACT Wrestling Channel on Pluto TV, a 24-hour live feed of content on the leading free over-the-top (OTT) television service. Finally, an extension with Pop TV in the U.S. was announced which will continue the airing of IMPACT on Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET.
As if that wasn't enough, the company also plans expansion into Germany, Austria and Switzerland via ran FIGHTING.
These plans would be a huge step forward for a company that just hours ago was on the rumored verge of selling its stake in the wrestling industry. After removing COO Jeff Jarrett for erratic behavior and rumors of Anthem Sports hemorrhaging money to fund the operations of Impact Wrestling and GFW, this announcement comes as quite a shock.
The only logical explanations are that these expansion plans and digital initiatives were already in place prior the Jeff Jarrett announcement or they are happening because of the Jeff Jarrett situation. The first seems the more likely of the two options.
Questions will arise whether or not there is a market for these types of digital expansions from Anthem and GFW. With low ratings and a failing company financially, is there really an expectation that fans will demand 24-hour content? Yes, the history of TNA, Impact, and GFW will provide fans with over 3000 hours of programming and include names like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Sting, Kurt Angle, A.J Styles and more, but is that enough?
The news to many is confusing, but the key here is that all but the television deal are not official. They are simply initiatives. Still, Jarret's departure, news about financial troubles and then an expansion have people wondering what's really going on. Was this the plan all along? Like a furniture store who isn't closing but promoting a "going out of business sale" this whole thing has a strange vibe to it.