Sony Six & TNA to live telecast Mumbai’s Impact Wrestling event; to search for India’s next wresting star

MUMBAI: Multi Screen Media’s (MSM) sports TV channel Sony Six will be broadcasting three live Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestling events in December, which are scheduled to take place in Mumbai from 2 - 4 December. 


In a first for India, Sony Six will air the international sporting event live, featuring the stars and knockouts of TNA’s flagship Impact Wrestling. The final show TNA One Night Only: Mumbai on 4 December will be broadcast live in India, the United States and all around the world. It may be recalled that, in February this year,  Sony Six inked a long-term broadcast deal with TNA wrestling, which runs through 2022.


At present, three stars will be part of the live telecast in India, the United States and around the world. These include:  India’s Mahabali Shera who is TNA’s first ever Indian wrestler; former TNA world heavyweight champion Ethan Crater 3 and Knockout Rebel.  


Additionally, Sony Six and TNA have also partnered for the second time to search for India’s next big wrestling talent, who will join Mahabali Shera on the TNA roster. This will give aspiring wrestlers from India an opportunity to be showcase their skills on a global platform. Shera was TNA’s first ever Indian find in 2014, who was crowned after a year-long talent search led by TNA Hall of Famer and Olympic Gold medalist Kurt Angle.


Sony Six business head Prasana Krishnan said, “We started this initiative two years ago. It has been one of our flagship properties, which is growing phenomenally. The number of viewers in calendar year 2014 exceeded 90 million at many stages. Wrestling is very much connected in India as it is played at the grass root level, which gives great potential as content. After cricket, it is the most viewed sports in the country and that makes it a natural candidate for investing and expanding in India.”


TNA executive vice president of television and talent relations John Gaburick added, “This is only the beginning, we are following break-to-break approach and we look forward to become part of Indian wrestling community and build our relation in years to come. To start with, we are looking forward to explore and find new talent from different cities and states. As long as we keep finding new talents, we will be ready to invest.”


Further discussing the content for the program, he said, “We want to show Mumbai to the world, we don’t want to just to set up a wrestling show here but also be part of the wrestling community in India. For that we have created original content for the Indian market in terms of touching field brand in the market.”


Pro wrestling has been introduced in India before, when Jeff Jarrett introduced Ring Ka King. Initially, it got good ratings with a stiff competition from competitors. However, the let down was the content, which failed to sustain in the long run.


This in turn gave TNA insights for further investment. Speaking on revenue generation and investments, Krishnan said, “Local sponsors will come in but for now our focus is on getting the event right. When you have a successful event, revenue always follows.”


TNA's fare is not the only action sport which attracts Indian audiences, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) also has a strong following. Talking about competitors, Krishnan said, “We are looking forward to initiatives taken by TNA, starting from the live broadcast of the show and second edition of the talent hunt for TNA's  roster. They are very focused and committed, and in the long run, it will definitely show some results in big way. The show will be one of a kind.”


Gaburick asserted, “WWE is older than us, they had a big head start in terms of brand growth compared to what we are today. But we have more impact in the community and it is the first foundation block for any organisation. Keeping the history of sports in India in mind, we will embrace it and make a mark in Indian market.”


Present on the occasion, Dalip Singh Rana also known as ‘The Great Khali’ said, “I’m very much excited about the collaboration between Sony Six and TNA wrestling. It will be a boost for the Indian wrestling market and the talent hunt will providea  platform for young talents in India.”


Commenting on the possibilities of collaboration with Singh, Gaburick said, “Having worked with him before in WWE, I think we both understand the importance of Indian market for wrestling. He wishes to be part of the program and it is about timing and scheduling and getting the deal done. I think we have a bright future for wrestling in India.”

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