Sinclair buys wrestling franchise


Professional wrestling was once a mainstay of broadcast television, but in recent years has transitioned to cable – where “WWE Raw” on USA is frequently cable’s top-rated program. That has not gone unnoticed at Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is bringing pro wrestling to its stations.

Sinclair has purchased the Ring Of Honor (ROH) wrestling franchise, with plans to put the wrestling shows on its own stations.

“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% coverage 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 make-up of our station mix and the number of CW, MyTV and Fox affiliates we operate, this is a perfect fit for our viewer demographics,” said Steve Marks, COO of Sinclair’s TV group. In the long-term, he said, ROH may be made available to broadcasters in other markets.

“We have been waiting and working for this opportunity for quite some time. Of our nine 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 will be as captivated as those who have followed Ring of Honor over the years,” said Cary Silkin, the current owner of ROH, the third largest pro wrestling company.

This September, Ring of Honor will debut on Sinclair’s network of broadcast television stations, and with it, will become the only wrestling promotion in the United States with a major, multi-market presence on broadcast TV.

ROH will be headed by Joe Koff, Chief Operating Officer of Ring of Honor. Koff has been with Sinclair since 2003 and most recently served as Director of Sales.