The past few days has revealed an ugly lawsuit brewing between new wrestling streaming site FloSlam and it’s largest content provided, WWN (World Wrestling Network) – the parent company who handles EVOLVE, SHINE, Full Impact Pro and ACW. The lawsuit went public (and viral) quickly, with both sides taking to Social Media to out the other.
First broken by David Bixenspan at Fightful.com, the story began when FloSports, the parent company who owns FloSlam, filed a lawsuit against WWN for apparent breach of contract. The complaint read as follows:
“WWN induced FloSports to pay it hundreds of thousands of dollars based on data that was not only inaccurate and unreliable; it was just plain false. When pressed for the data that backed up WWN’s spreadsheet of viewership, WWN originally claimed it had lost or deleted that information. Ultimately, WWN sent records listing many subscribers more than once and including purchasers of DVDs instead of broadcast services. Even with that artificial inflation of viewership, the numbers WWN attempted to account for were far less than those represented in its initial spreadsheet.”
Yesterday, WWN’s lawyer, Samuel Heller, sent a letter to PWInsider to reveal WWN’s side and to announce their own countersuit:
“While we prefer not to litigate cases in the media, it is clear that FloSports is attempting to use the press to create leverage in this dispute by spreading false, defamatory and misleading statements about WWN. In reality, FloSports has wholly failed to honor its contractual obligation to promote WWN’s events, and has been unable to successfully integrate WWN into its mismanaged and failing subscription streaming platform. At no time has WWN provided incorrect, false or misleading information and this lawsuit is nothing more than a transparent effort by FloSports to avoid its responsibility to WWN, its talent and its fans. We are confident that the litigation will result favorably to WWN.”
Strangely enough, the previous day, FloSports Senior Vice President and General Counsel Paul Hurdlow spoke to Bixenspan and Fightful.com and said “The lawsuit isn’t to get out of the partnership…It really is our hope that we’ll get back to talking to WWN and kind of work things out outside of the litigation. Sometimes you have to file a complaint to sort of protect your interest in particular situations. We’re not apologizing that we did it—we chose to do it—but it’s really our preference to have dialogue and work things out with them outside of litigation.” And then WWN head Gabe Sapolsky tweeted this just hours before EVOLVE 92.
FloSlam is refusing to broadcast tonight's EVOLVE event. We apologize, but this is their decision. Please contact them for customer issues
Just when it seemed FloSlam were open to dialogue, they pulled the plug on last night and tonight’s EVOLVE streams for EVOLVE 92 and 93, and quickly removed all WWN content from their upcoming schedule. The only event upcoming is the IPW:UK Supershow 12 on November 19.
FloSlam was also quick to put up a note to subscribers that they would no longer be carrying WWN content and those who wanted refunds could email them directly.
Initially, many were quick to blame FloSlam for failing in many of its obligations. Other promotions sighed relief at opting out of FloSlam last year when it was launching.
So glad that we rejected our offer from Flo Slam earlier this year.
Interesting enough, over the course of the past year, WWN had stayed loyal to FloSlam when other promotions withdrew, such as PWX, OTT and wXw. But then Adam Lash, co-founder of Powerbomb.tv (the streaming site for such indie promotions as Tier 1, Preston City Wrestling (PCW), Ottawa’s C4, and Tope Rope Promotions) unloaded on Twitter about the seediness of WWN’s countersuit.
WWN using their hosting company as an excuse for not being able to give FloSports accurate viewing/order data is such horse shit.
1. They weren't using some rinky dink hosting company to stream video. You use a content delivery network in conjunction with your host.
A CDN is made to deliver content to large numbers of people. It's how hundreds, thousands, and millions of people watch w/o lag/crashing.
That viewership information isn't tied to their web host. Even if the host deleted the site's server that info would still be available.
2. To handle e-commerce online you need a credit card processor/merchant account (PayPal.) This is how you charge customers. Again this is
Handled by a third party. All order information, all revenue, etc. is kept with these companies and is readily available whether your host
Deletes your server or not. I've worked in e-commerce for nearly 20 years (seriously, since I was 12 years old.) If their excuse is the host
Deleted the info / shut down, that is, in my opinion, further evidence of deception. WWN needs to think long and hard about all this because
This will absolutely not fly in civil court. While the average Joe or wrestling reporter might not know all of this, you can bet Flo's
Lawyers absolutely do and will turn that story into Swiss cheese.
With the battle lines on both sides now blurred, The Pro Wrestling Torch reported today that FloSlam never even fact checked or looked into WWN’s alleged numbers for PPV buy rates until well into the contract. They simply went off WWN’s word and handed them a contract, with no further questions asked. It wasn’t until a few months ago that they asked for concrete numbers, which is when WWN allegedly couldn’t find them due to the change it web server. And with FloSlam still keeping up all of WWN’s back catalogue, part of WWN’s countersuit is most likely to include a cease-and-desist to take it all down.
It’s a battle that’s only going to get messier, and it couldn’t come at a worse time for WWN. They were poised to become a feeder system for the WWE, but between this scenario and the over booking nightmare of PROGRESS New York City through Gabe Sapolsky’s hands, WWE may want to distance themselves from a promoter that seems to be making more enemies than friends the past year.
The story is ongoing.