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FLOSPORT, WWN RELATIONSHIP LOOKS TO BE COMING TO AN END

By Mike Johnson on 2017-09-21 14:48:00

Multiple sources over the last week have indicated to PWInsider.com that the relationship between Flosports and Sal Hamaoui's WWN, the parent company of EVOLVE, Style Battle, FIP, SHINE and the now-defunct Dragon Gate USA, is "fraying" and the two sides look to be heading for a legal showdown.  

PWInsider.com has confirmed that Flosports filed a lawsuit against WWN on 9/15 in Travis County Court in Texas and that WWN are in the process of preparing a counter-suit.  PWInsider.com is working to acquire the lawsuit.

Sources indicate that while the two sides announced a five year deal publicly in October 2016, there is actually just over a year left on their current agreement and there has been a breakdown of relations between the two sides.  Flosports pays WWN to produce a number of events for the streaming service every month.  That content fills out the majority of Flosports' offering to its pro wrestling side.

Using the name Floslam, Flosports launched its pro wrestling service in October 2016, charging $20 a month/$150 a year for access to live and video on demand programming, including older events and documentary style features.   There was a great excitement in certain circles that the company, which had touted back in August 2016 that they had received $21.2 million in new funding, was going to change the landscape for independent wrestling and become a major competitor to WWE's streaming Network.  The irony there was that WWE was one of the investors in the company.   

Unfortunately, despite the initial acquisition of WWN content, the rollout for the service was, in my opinion, haphazard at best.  The Roku app had issues until recently as it was not supported by many of Roku's devices (although it worked well with a Roku Express once I purchased one) .  The service was not available on any other standard apps, such as Playstation of even Apple.  There was no marketing to support the service beyond their social media account and emails sent out to existing subscribers.  A number of companies that joined the service, including House of Hardcore and Germany's WXW, would later leave while some companies that were touted as partners were simply involved for one or few events.  At one point, the service was even raised to a $30 per month price point (with no advance notice), although that was later rolled back to $20. 

As I have covered before in great detail, it was as if the Flosports decided to put a plane in the air without knowing where it was going or how to land.  

Despite all the issues, as of this writing, the two sides are still working together, as this weekend's WWN events will air as scheduled on Flosports.    

WWE, which has cultivated a relationship with WWN's Gabe Sapolsky, is sending Cedric Alexander to appear on those events, but not as part of the Flosports broadcast.  One would have to assume that if WWN can wrangle itself free of the Flosports issues, the long-planned WWE Network tier system could be their next destination.

Should this situation end with the departure of WWN content, one does have to ask what would be left for Flosports if they wish to continue with a streaming service dedicated to professional wrestling.  House of Hardcore's most recent live events have not been carried on the service, which we are told was a decision made by Tommy Dreamer.  

PWInsider.com contacted Hamaoui, who referred us this morning to WWN's attorney, Sean Heller.  We are currently awaiting a statement from Mr. Heller.

PWInsider.com has also contacted Flosports, who have not returned queries regarding the situation.

Beyond professional wrestling, Flosports also handles streaming services for a variety of other sporting events, including collegiate wrestling,  MMA, fitness, boxing, softball, tennis, gymnastics, marching, basketball, volleyball, eSports, cheerleading, and track.

Full Disclosure: I am a current annual subscriber to Floslam.

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