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Are changes coming on New Year’s Eve?

By Zach Arnold | May 8, 2006

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By Zach Arnold

The MMA wars (K-1 and PRIDE, with Inoki in 2003) have become a TV programming staple in Japan on New Year’s Eve since 2001. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent by the major networks (Tokyo Broadcasting System, Nippon TV, and Fuji TV) to compete with NHK’s Kohaku (Red & White Music Festival) program.

However, one major factor is starting to develop, which is the rise of the young (pre-20s) Kameda boxing brothers, who are starting to deliver major TV rating numbers for Tokyo Broadcasting System. Today, Daily Sports reports that there is interest in having a “Kameda Matsuri (Festival)” on New Year’s Eve. TBS has been the previous backer of the Kameda boxing shows, and would likely back this proposed event.

Such a proposed move would alter the landscape for MMA in Japan, especially on television. Several questions arise from this development:

  1. Would Tokyo Broadcasting System no longer air the K-1 Dynamite!! show and really replace it with the Kameda boxing brothers? And if so, does this mean that the TV networks are starting to lose interest in MMA as a flagship TV product?
  2. If K-1 does not have TBS as their home on New Year’s Eve, does this mean that they will transfer their New Year’s Eve show to Fuji TV? Or will PRIDE’s win in the rating wars last year force K-1 to find a new TV home (such as Nippon TV – the network embroiled in the current yakuza scandal from the disastrous 2003 Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye show – or TV-Asahi?)
  3. Because of the mounting pressure of the yakuza scandal from various media outlets on DSE/PRIDE, will PRIDE find itself as the lone man out of the New Year’s Eve wars?

Topics: All Topics, Japan, K-1, MMA, PRIDE, Zach Arnold | No Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

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