WWE’s hold on Madison Square Garden appears to be slipping. The company itself has been moving away from what for decades has been considered their “home court”, moving televised events in New York City to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for cost reasons. That’s opened up the opportunity for other promotions to work Manhattan’s iconic arena.
Rumors point to Mexico’s AAA being the first non-WWE wrestling company to plant their flag in MSG, with multiple dates held for a possible September 2018 show. Now, the CEO of Sinclair Broadcasting is saying his company’s promotion, Ring of Honor (ROH), plans to run the Garden in 2019.
In an interview with Baltimore Business Journal, Chris Ripley said Sinclair plans to start putting ROH shows in larger venues to take advantage of their “very passionate fanbase”. The article sites both WWE’s lucrative deal with Fox for SmackDown’s broadcast rights and the quick sellout of All In as reasons why Ripley believes ROH can fill bigger buildings and possibly become more of a television presence outside ROH TV running on the syndicated channels Sinclair owns:
“We have been scaling in terms of our production quality. We have not really brought it off Sinclair because the production quality is not quite there yet.”
Ripley also acknowledges these trends mean the brand is almost certainly worth more than when Sinclair bought ROH, but they currently have no plans to sell. However, “I would never say no to someone who wants to pay a stupid price,” he said.
Whether ROH is sold, ends up a nationally broadcast channel or runs Madison Square Garden, the fact one of the most powerful media companies in the United States is talking about their wrestling plans is a sign the business is booming.