BALTIMORE (AP) — TV station operator Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said Monday that it has bought the "Ring of Honor" wrestling franchise and will start showing matches on its stations in September.
That would make Ring of Honor the only U.S. wrestling federation with a "major, multi-market presence" on broadcast TV, the company said.
Ring of Honor produces weekly TV wrestling programs and holds events around the country, some of which are sold on DVDs or on the Internet on a pay-per-view basis.
Steve Marks, chief operating officer of Sinclair's television group, said the deal gives Sinclair multiple revenue streams, such as advertising, product sponsorships, Internet pay-per-view, live wrestling tour events and sales of DVDs and other merchandise.
Sinclair owns 58 television stations in 35 markets, most of them in the eastern half of the U.S., as well as Texas, Oklahoma and Nevada.
Sinclair said it may eventually syndicate Ring of Honor wrestling to broadcasters outside its markets.
"Television and professional wrestling have a long history of successful partnerships and driving viewership," Marks said. "Unfortunately, the broadcast networks have not protected that relationship, allowing professional wrestling to migrate to cable network distribution."
Sinclair said Ring of Honor's previous owner, Cary Silkin, will stay with the company in an advisory role. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Shares of Sinclair fell 32 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $10.04 in midday trading Monday amid a broader market decline. The stock has traded in the 52-week range of $5.25 and $13.07.