Total Nonstop Action Wrestling recently sent out a press release informing the media that the company has inked a deal with MDI Entertainment to offer lottery tickets emblazoned with the company logo and featuring its wrestling stars. The tickets, which would be available worldwide, would feature such TNA personalities as Hulk Hogan, Sting, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and Bobby Roode. The press release goes on to report that all wrestlers will also be available for personal appearances and public service announcements pertaining to the lottery tickets.
At first glance, this looks like a great opportunity for Total Nonstop Action. The second rate company has struggled for several years to gain even a fraction of the exposure WWE receives. By partnering with a lottery ticket company, one would think TNA will be able to draw some excess exposure. However, when one thinks more broadly about the partnership, there are some flaws to consider.
First, although the two companies were able to come to an agreement on terms, there is still no guarantee that a TNA lottery ticket will be produced, much less on a scale large enough to alter the organizations popularity. Although MDI owns the license to create lottery scratch tickets for popular properties such as Major League Baseball, Harley-Davidson and Monopoly, they also own the license for less popular and non-existent scratch tickets such as the television show CSI, Amazing Race and Genuine Scooters. So just because TNA signed an agreement with the company, a TNA scratch ticket may never see the light of day.
Another wrinkle in the plan is the target demographic for lottery tickets are not the current market for pro wrestling. For the last several years, pro wrestling has been geared towards children. Spearheaded by World Wrestling Entertainment, wrestling went from focusing on young adults to streamlining their product to be child friendly. This business decision was made largely due to the growing popularity of the UFC, whose hard hitting authentic sport stole many pro wrestling fans. If pro wrestling is largely geared towards children at this point, why is TNA going against the grain and focusing their attention on an adult audience? Children, who should be the main marketing focus, are not old enough to buy scratch tickets, and will not be for several years.
Lastly, the consumers who purchase lottery tickets do not purchase scratch-offs with the desire or intention of being introduced to a new sport or form of entertainment. Their concentration is on one thing. And that is choosing the big money winner. Also, one prize considered for the new TNA scratch ticket is a prize of a “TNA contract for a day.” No average lottery ticket consumer would want a TNA contract. They want cold hard cash, not a piece of paper and on-air role for a day.
Right now, pro wrestling is largely a form of entertainment for children. Although the creation of a TNA lottery ticket probably won’t negatively affect the organization, it will not produce anymore viewership for the struggling company. And a large and loyal viewership is what this company is missing.