Yeah I know, I’m a day late. Anyway, according to the Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, New Japan Pro Wrestling and AXS TV are back in negotiations and a deal is likely. Per Dave:
“the talks are enough to where the odds are considered decent a deal ends up being reached”
On Monday nights Wrestling Observer Radio he stated that AXS had made an offer but that New Japan turned it down due to not wanting to be held by a contract and seeking an opportunity with a bigger station. Since then he received new information.
AXS and New Japan talks stalled but they never stopped negotiating. Vice TV is also been in the discussion, even though it was previously reported by several outlets that they were out too. CBS Sports and even ESPN were in the mix at one time but if I had to venture a guess, AXS and Vice would be the front runners. Lots of misinformation gets thrown around during negotiations which is typical but I’ll try and keep up as best I can.
New Japan debuted this past Thursday on Roku channel which is the Roku device’s streaming channel. This is not an exclusive deal which is why New Japan’s negotiations are continuing.
There are pros and cons to both networks. Vice TV is in roughly 66M homes (per SAGAFTRA) and did extremely well with their Dark Side of the Ring series, usually averaging 200K to 400k viewers a week, which is better than what Impact does on AXS. But Vice overall is not a high rated station and tend to focus on millennial style news programming and documentaries and has had some financial trouble the last few years. Really, that station is on shaky ground.
For AXS they are available in 51M homes, which is substantially less than Vice, but there’s familiarity there as NJPW was on the station for years (under the previous regime) but fans were used to seeing them on there. AXS will also open the door to Fight Network in Canada which could help them penetrate that market too.
If AXS and New Japan work out a deal it would really strengthen the partnership between New Japan and IMPACT, and with so many talents leaving IMPACT the timing could not be better.
Thanks to Lavie Margolin for his help with the info from SAGAFTRA.