There has been a lot of head scratching following last week’s announcement that Impact Wrestling would be moving to the Pursuit Channel on January 11.
The move has many fans worried because the network is not carried on many of the biggest cable systems including Comcast and the systems that do carry the network have it on one of their upper tiers, which means that fans would have to pay more if they want the channel.
Company executives are attempting to portray this move a positive but it is hard to see how moving to a smaller network on Friday night’s at 10 pm eastern could be seen as a good thing because they are guaranteed to lose a chunk of their viewership.
On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer talked about the mentality behind the move to Friday nights from Thursday’s.
Meltzer noted that the move is part of Impact’s long-term plan to get viewers from SmackDown Live when that show moves to Friday night’s on FOX. The idea is that fans will be home watching WWE and they will want to tune in to Pursuit at 10 pm.
Meltzer also noted that Impact’s deal in Canada is important to The Fight Network (owned by Anthem) because Anthem recently lost their UFC programming.
Pop TV is available in 67 million homes and Pursuit is available in just 30 million homes so Impact will have a steep hill to climb if they hope to get back to the viewership numbers that they had while on Pop TV.