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ROH Sold to Sinclair Broadcasting Group


Sean Liska
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Press Release:

 

RING OF HONOR ANNOUNCES SALE TO SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP

 

BRISTOL, PA. (MAY 21, 2011)--Ring of Honor Wrestling owner, Cary Silkin, announced today the sale of the promotion to Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., one of the largest television broadcasters in the country and which owns and operates, programs, or provides sales services to 58 television stations in 35 markets across the United States.

 

ROH, currently the third largest wrestling promotion in the country, just celebrated its ninth anniversary, and Mr. Silkin is excited about taking the next step towards increasing the company's visibility and expanding its operations.

 

"We have been waiting for and working for this opportunity for quite some time", he said, "and of our 9 years in business, there has been no better roster of wrestlers than this one to expose the ROH product to the masses. With Sinclair's resources and many avenues of distribution, we believe many new fans around the world will be as captivated as those who have followed Ring of Honor over the years."

 

The month of September will see the debut of the new Ring of Honor television program which will be syndicated across the Sinclair network of stations, and with it, ROH will become the only wrestling promotion in the United States with a major, multi-market presence on broadcast TV. But if you don't live in a market with a Sinclair station, fear not, says Mr. Silkin. "Through our revamped website we will be able to make the TV show available to anyone in the world with internet access."

 

Sinclair officials are enthused about the project as well.

 

"We are very excited about this acquisition," commented Steve Marks, COO of Sinclair's Television Group. "Television and professional wrestling have a long history of successful partnerships and driving viewership. Unfortunately, the broadcast networks have not protected that relationship, allowing professional wrestling to migrate to cable network distribution. We believe that the powerful promotional platform that our TV stations provide, coupled with our 22% share of the U.S. TV households, will allow ROH to achieve name brand recognition and grow its share of the wrestling market. When you consider the makeup of our station mix and the number of CW, MYTV and FOX affiliates we operate, this is a perfect fit for our viewer demographics." Mr. Marks also noted, "Longer-term, we can envision syndicating ROH wrestling to broadcasters in markets where Sinclair does not have a presence, and even internationally."

 

Mr. Silkin assures the ROH fans worldwide that they will be seeing the same exciting, hard-hitting style of pro wrestling that they have become accustomed to. "We have established the name Ring of Honor as synonymous with the best in-ring action in the sport. The only thing that will change is that it will now be easier for fans around the world to follow. Our visibility will increase greatly--our production will be upgraded--but the work ethic of our incredible talent roster and our athletic style of wrestling will remain the same. This is what our fans have told us they want, and we will continue to give it to them."

 

The current front office staff, including Cary Silkin, Syd Eick, and Ross Abrams, will remain with ROH going forward. Hunter Johnston, a favorite of ROH fans for years as the masked grappler Delirious, will still handle matchmaking, Jim Cornette will remain as executive producer, and other familiar faces like ring announcer Bobby Cruise and senior referee Todd Sinclair will be in place."

 

Additionally, longtime wrestling broadcaster Kevin Kelly, already the voice of ROH internet pay-per-views, will assume the TV play-by-play chair this fall. Veteran NWA and WCW promoter Gary Juster will come aboard to be in charge of live event operations, which are planned to continue in current ROH markets as well as expanding into new locations concurrent with the increased TV exposure.

 

Mr. Cornette, who along with Mr. Johnston, will be in charge of talent and matchmaking, sees this as a new beginning for pro wrestling. "This is not old-school wrestling, and it's not sports entertainment," said Mr. Cornette. "This is wrestling for the 21st century, a new style developed by fresh, young stars that incorporates wrestling, mixed martial arts and high-flying, high-risk action with unique personalities, and it's showcased by a sports-based presentation completely different from any other product out there. In my 30 years in the sport, it's the most exciting live-event wrestling experience I've seen, and I'm thrilled to help bring it to broadcast TV."

 

A major press conference, open to wrestling press and mainstream media alike, is being planned for Baltimore on Friday, June 24th. This event will feature a number of the ROH staff and wrestlers both announcing news about ROH's future and answering questions. The media event will be presided over by new ROH COO, Joe Koff. Mr. Koff, a longtime Sinclair executive with an extensive background in TV sales and management, also has experience in pro wrestling television production and syndication. Most visible of his projects may have been the first-ever live, prime time syndicated pro wrestling events, the Battle of the Belts, which aired from 1985 to 1987. These Championship Wrestling from Florida-based cards were broadcast live to a syndicated network of stations and may be best-remembered for the classic Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham NWA World Title contest from St. Petersburg.

 

The press event will kick off a weekend which includes ROH's next internet pay-per-view event, "Best In The World 2011," live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on Sunday, June 26th at 4PM EST. In addition to all the top stars on the ROH roster, this event will feature the return of some favorite stars from Ring of Honor's past, and can be ordered by anyone in the world with internet access through Gofightlive.tv for only $14.95. More information about Ring of Honor can be obtained through their website, www.rohwrestling.com.

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On the surface it sounds like it has potential. Syndication has been a dead way of promoting wrestling for a long time, but that's because promotions have to pay for the TV time. If they get decent TV times on these clearances in good markets, there's no reason they can't do ECW-level attendance numbers at least, except for bad booking.

 

Looking at their clearances, though, it doesn't seem like they're in a lot of big markets. Minneapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Cincinanati, Buffalo, and Dayton seem like the biggest ones near their current touring circuit.

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Looking at their Wiki profile, they're an... interesting group. Seems like it's been one long string of controversies for them in the past decade, often over retarded political bullshit. And yeah, they don't appear to own any stations in any of ROH's key towns. Nothing anywhere near NYC, Philly, Chicago, or any of their usual home turf.

 

They mentioned Kevin Kelly will be taking over the play-by-play spot; does that mean Dave Prazak's out?

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Looking at their clearances has dampened my enthusiasm, but we have no idea what their business model is really going to be going forward. I am intrigued by them talking about trying to sell the show into markets without Sinclair clearances, and internationally. At least they stumbled into something since the old forumula wasn't going anywhere.

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You guys would have better knowledge about the station than I would living abroad.

 

But look at this:

 

In November 2010, it was reported that five Fox affiliates and one ABC affiliate owned by Sinclair broadcasted an infomercial critical of President Barack Obama, Breaking Point: 25 Minutes that will Change America, which was sponsored by the National Republican Trust Political Action Group.[4] The infomercial painted Obama as an extremist, in which, during the 2008 presidential campaign, claimed he received some campaign money from the Hamas terrorist group, and claimed to have said in a speech, "You want freedom? You’re gonna have to kill some crackers! You gonna have to kill some of those babies." The special also discusses Obama advisers Van Jones and John Holdren, as well as Obama staff Anita Dunn, Kevin Jennings, Carol Browner, and Cass Sunstein -- all in an unflattering light; in one case, the special claimed that Holdren said that trees should be permitted to sue humans in court.

 

The infomercial aired at various times during the weekend of October 30 on WMSN-TV Madison, Wisconsin; KBSI Cape Girardeau, Missouri; WDKY-TV Lexington, Kentucky; WPGH-TV Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; KDSM-TV Des Moines, Iowa and WXLV-TV Winston-Salem, North Carolina -- all in swing states vital to the 2010 elections.

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After thinking about this more, a 10pm Saturday slot on the WB in Cleveland isn't really going to change the fortune of the company much. Is Sinclair planning on making their money off of DVDs being sold from the TV slot? Will a certain level of TV ratings make them happy? I'm not seeing how this changes things a lot unless Sinclair is wanting to invest in the company long-term, or if they can make money selling the show.

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Anyone what to do a left wing version of Bill Watts getting fired from WCW by sending this on to Sinclair Broadcast Group?

:P

I'd never heard that before but that is just absolutely hilarious, good on Cornette.

 

Anyways, good for ROH I guess? I don't know what channels this Sinclair group runs but if they're going to shoulder the cost I guess it is a positive. I saw some ROH TV but wasn't a big fan, the constant boring squashes for guys like the Dark City Fight Club and the weird camera angle with that roving hard cam really turned me off. I think the main factors in ROH losing its buzz, in addition to taking to long to get the belt off Morishima and then taking way the fuck too long to take it off Nigel, was splitting the promotion into three different timelines with TV, DVD, and PPVs, making it all confusing and too much of an effort to keep up with.

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I experienced my own personal wrestling hell tonight, and it was Davey Richards and Charlie Haas exchanging 15 german suplexes while the crowd responded with a golf clap. Combine that with the strikes exchanges and no-selling, and the match encapsulated everything that bores me with indie and Japanese wrestling.

 

It seems like there's some positive buzz around ROH now, but I don't really see it. The lead heel group appears to be Roderick Strong, Chris Daniels, and Michael Elgin managed by Truth Martini. I still don't get Martini's gimmick. I don't know what Elgin is doing on the roster, Roderick doesn't work that this level, and Daniels is so stale. Eddie Edwards is like the prototype of a generic indie guy. Davey Richards is Davey Richards. I'm not buying into the Haas/Benjamin hype. I have enjoyed the Briscoes-Express feud, but that's the only thing really engaging to me.

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Funnily enough, I just saw the Richards/Haas match described as a match of the year candidate on another forum!

 

I used to be a huge RoH fan, but I just can't take the whole "this is super serious wrestling" aspect of it anymore. Not to mention that most of the people I liked on the shows have left the company. I'm also annoyed that my favorite guy left, El Generico just came off the feud of the year and is now doing jobs to Elgin and Bennett, whoever the fuck they are.

 

But I hope this works out for them, because any wrestling on TV is better than nothing (although TNA is testing that theory)

 

Though, I have to think if this fails, the company is dead.

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What's with Gargiulo's weird vendetta against Cornette? He actually said that James E was a worse booker than Russo.

 

The article overall reminded me a lot of Foley's anti-PTC rant in his second book. It's all got a kernel of truth, but he just goes on and on and on about it in such a scattershot, gotta-mention-every-single-complaint manner that he lost me by the end. Especially since he spends a paragraph talking about how great DGUSA compared to ROH, which is pretty irrelevant to this story.

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What's with Gargiulo's weird vendetta against Cornette? He actually said that James E was a worse booker than Russo.

Then mentioning SMW and OVW as failed promotions. I'm sure DGUSA would be happy to draw like SMW did. OVW was a WWF developmental for years and made money.

 

Then he throws in some bull plop about not having Kevin Kelly as annoncer because of some youth movement crap. The same logic that lead to WWE trying to replace Jim Ross for years.

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I am amazed by how quickly people in this thread "got it". Within a half on hour of the post, people were pointing out how limited the clearance is, and that Sinclair is a goofy company.

 

I do wonder what Cary got out of the deal in terms of net.

 

John

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I am amazed by how quickly people in this thread "got it". Within a half out of the post, people were pointing out how limited the clearance is, and that Sinclair is a goofy company.

 

I do wonder what Cary got out of the deal in terms of net.

 

John

I am just amazed at the amount of people elsewhere who were immediately heralding RoH as the new #2 promotion in the world based on this seemingly half assed television deal.

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I am just amazed at the amount of people elsewhere who were immediately heralding RoH as the new #2 promotion in the world based on this seemingly half assed television deal.

 

They're wrestling fans: they want to believe. :)

 

John

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