European kickboxing organization Superkombat has quickly established themselves as a player in the international kickboxing scene, and now they are looking to make a big move. The company informed Bloody Elbow last week that they are in the final stages of negotiations to have their shows aired in the US. No word on the network at the moment, as the deal is not yet signed, but Superkombat reports that it's a station that reaches roughly 80 million US homes. That's a very sizable market for kickboxing - as a point of comparison, stations like FX and Spike are available in roughly 100 million.
As of right now, the plan is for the shows to air on one week tape delay, though they are looking to move to live shows in the future. Here's Superkombat president Eduard Irimia on the deal:
I can confirm negotiations with a tv rights company. They contact us and big chances to sign a contract for long term. We will have a main-stream exposure in USA. For the moment, Superkombat events will be broadcasted in delay. In this moment, Superkombat is the promotion with the biggest tv exposure in the world because our events are broadcast live in more then 70 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Australia. Our project goes according to plan and we are proud that we are one step ahead of other promotions stand-up. We don't want to become a rival to other promotions, we try only to promote this sport.
That last line is interesting, as right now, the biggest players in the kickboxing world - Glory and K-1 - are engaged in a lot of back and forth competition that is not always best for the sport. In the past, It's Showtime adopted this same kind of "promotion, not competition" attitude, and it served them well. Glad to see Superkombat keeping their eyes on the sport here.
While the tape delay is not the best, this is definitely big news for kickboxing fans in the US, and for Superkombat. Here, kickboxing remains in something of a dark ages as far as accessibility is concerned, with fans often being forced to turn to choppy streams to watch. Getting access to a large station will give Superkombat a huge new audience, which is particularly notable at a time when K-1 is also looking to break into the US market.
After being shunned by kickboxing for so long, the US is suddenly finding itself as a player in the international scene. Obviously, I couldn't be happier. Now let's hope that interest in the US market pays off.
More Superkombat news regarding the motorcycle accident to champion Bogdan Stoica in the full entry.
In other Superkombat news, Superkombat 91kg champion Bogdan Stoica was recently involved in a serious motorcycle accident. While riding his motorcycle, Stoica was struck by a car, severely injuring his back. With a back injury there's always concern for long-term health, but Stoica is out of the hospital and on the road to recovery. He's expected to be out of action until at least 2013. Here's Stoica on his recovery:
I feel like I was born for the second time. I was lucky and want to return as quickly in the ring. I thank the fans for the hundreds of messages received. I will return stronger!
Stoica is one of the big names of Superkombat, and a very promising kickboxer who will really benefit from the exposure to a US audience. Glad to see that he is not too seriously hurt, and I look forward to seeing him back in the ring.
Next up for Superkombat is an October 20 show that serves as the last qualification tournament for their 2012 World Grand Prix. That Grand Prix sees its opening round take place on November 10, with the finals on December 8. And if all goes according to plan, we'll get to see it all on TV here in the US.