Last week, Lucha Underground aired its season finale on the El Rey network and with such a buzz around the product, many fans are asking if there will be a second season? The Lucha Underground officials have stated in interviews that they are negotiating with the El Rey network to secure the amount of money necessary to produce another season of the import of AAA. While there have been a few feeble attempts to bring lucha libre to the United States in the past, Lucha Underground actually tailored the product to an American audience and in the process, created the most hype for lucha since the “When Worlds Collide” pay-per-view in 1994. Granted, WCW used luchadors, but they weren’t showcased in a top spot and weren’t utilized to their potential on the card. However, Lucha Underground brought the Mexican style to the spot light and proved there’s a demand for it in the US. I’m not usually a fan of pure lucha because of the lack of psychology, but I followed Lucha Underground because of the hype for it and the recognizable names. Specifically, the Vampiro vs. Pentagon Jr. match from the season finale was an insane match and if you haven’t seen it, I completely recommend it. The quality of the in ring action can’t be denied, but the bottom line is, will LU generate enough revenue to survive?
The structure of the promotion is somewhat tricky because it has several known American and Mexican names, but it doesn’t run live events other than the TV tapings. It’s basically just a TV company that’s being used as an American spin off of the AAA promotion, which is fine, but limits the options for revenue sources. The El Rey network is a relatively small cable network and it doesn’t have the TV clearance in most of the major markets. For some perspective on the situation, El Rey reportedly has clearance for 20% of the country, but Spike TV, which distributed TNA programming for almost a decade, has 80% clearance of the country so only a fraction of main stream viewers have access to El Rey. The limited availability translates to less ad revenue and that’s less money that the network will put towards the show because they aren’t going to continually air a program that doesn’t generate a profit. The commercial time and sponsorships are how any TV program make money and that seems to be LU’s main revenue stream, but on a smaller network the ad revenue will be limited so the key will be if LU can generate the ad revenue for El Rey to justify a second season. If LU had a touring schedule, it creates another avenue to generate profit, but as of now, it’s just a TV company so sponsorships are their main resource. Lucha Underground signed several talents to contracts, which they should, but the contracts require a certain amount of money for the promotion so again, it’s more about the economics than the in ring product to determine if there’s another season.
The AAA promotion has been doing great business in Mexico since the return of Alberto El Patron, Mistico, and Rey Mysterio so perhaps the company would cover part of the cost to produce LU? It makes sense since it puts a foundation for the organization to expand into America, but if AAA is doing well in Mexico, why would they want to risk potentially losing money on a project in America? Unless LU is going to expand to more than a TV company, the bottom line is, the TV show has to generate enough money to make a profit so it seems doubtful AAA is going to pay for the production. That being said, the survival of LU will only benefit the wrestling business in almost every aspect, as it provides an alternative to the fans and it gives talented competitors a platform to get TV exposure. Plus, with the possible addition of Rey Mysterio to the roster, there’s the potential for the expansion of the Lucha Underground product.
However, I don’t think Lucha Underground will return for another season unless they get distribution from a major network or El Rey expansion because it seems difficult to generate major profit while on the smaller cable network so it’s possible the LU project will conclude, which would be a disappointing situation. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months and hopefully Lucha Underground will return for another season.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Until next week
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