Monday, March 26, 2012

TNA's Financial Issues

Reports have surfaced of TNA appearing to be experiencing financial difficulties. One of the main reasons cited is payments to wrestlers have been delayed, which is not a new issue, but affects the majority of TNA's roster - lower-card wrestlers.

The issue of payments being delayed has occurred over the past few years, according to TNA sources. It has become more prevalent since Bruce Prichard was hired to an executive role overseeing Talent Relations in the role previously held by Terry Taylor, which likely contributed to why the issue surfaced now. 

Last year, the issue was made public by Jimmy Yang, who noted on Twitter that it took several weeks for him to get paid for a one-off TV appearance as part of TNA bringing back X Division alumni for a series of matches.

Regular TNA wrestlers are supposed to be paid within a two-week period after performing on television. However, the main issue in the present is related to house show pay, according to sources.

The house show pay system begins with a list of pay-outs submitted to Prichard's office. Prichard approves the accuracy of the list, which is sent to the corporate office (Panda Energy) in Texas to cut checks to the wrestlers. The process has slowed down dramatically in recent months, according to sources. And, with TNA running more house shows than ever before in company history, some wrestlers will go 2-3 weekend tours before being paid for the first tour.

Not all wrestlers have been affected, as many of the 75 or so talent on the roster are paid on-time, or at least have not expressed concern over pay. However, more and more talent are voicing their concerns about delayed payments since the issue has started to affect more people.

Lower-card wrestlers and Knockouts are most affected since pay-outs go from top-to-bottom, according to sources. Top and upper-mid-card stars are taken care of first, then it trickles down to the lower-card wrestlers. The top-line stars are generally paid on time.

One source estimated that the sum of money paid to Sting per appearance is roughly equal to what it would take to cover 75-90 percent of the roster at the end of the payscale. However, since Sting is a priority, after Sting is paid his fee, TNA still has the remaining portion of the roster to pay, which can cause delays.

The result is that it makes it seem like TNA is having financial difficulties because the majority of the roster is not being paid on time. The central issue, though, is Prichard's office appearing to be slow moving the pay-outs through the TNA/Panda pipeline.

The issue adds to the poor reputation Prichard has among many wrestlers in the locker room. Ex-WWE wrestlers were sold on TNA being the opposite type of company with a lighter schedule, no politics, more character input, and a family-like atmosphere. Prichard is viewed as bringing a WWE style of management to TNA, complete with creating an environment where wrestlers feel they have to "walk on eggshells" and play political games, which is what ex-WWE wrestlers tried to get away from by joining TNA.

Overall, sources say they do not believe TNA is experiencing dramatic financial difficulty, as Spike TV continues to pay TNA to air Impact Wrestling and the recent partnership with Direct Auto Insurance has proven to be a lucrative deal. Merchandise sold at TNA house shows has also proven to be a steady, consistent money-maker. However, with more and more wrestlers having their pay delayed, it is causing concern that TNA's corporate office is taking a closer look at the numbers.

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