clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

GLORY Kickboxing CEO meets with SHOWTIME executives in Las Vegas

New, 21 comments

GLORY Kickboxing CEO Jon Franklin was in Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday last week for a meeting with Showtime Sports executive David Dinkins. The news has sparked speculation that GLORY programming may be headed to a new network when the current deal with Spike TV expires.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

GLORY programming on SPIKE TV commenced with October 2013's GLORY 11 CHICAGO event, headlined by Rico Verhoeven and Daniel Ghita. That deal was signed in June 2013 and is set to expire before the end of this year.

It is typical for contracts to be renegotiated several months out from expiry, if renewal or extension is desired by both parties, and Franklin has confirmed that talks with SPIKE TV on this subject are underway.

While it may reasonably have been assumed that renewal of the broadcasting deal would be a mere formality, last week's reports of a meeting between Franklin and Dinkins - the news came first via podcaster and fight-industry mole FrontRowBrian - makes things potentially more interesting.

Franklin has had a long career as a sports producer and sports-marketing executive. A former vice-president at the behemoth IMG Media group, he has also previously been President of Golden Gloves Boxing and President of The Sports and Entertainment Company.

A broadcast supervisor for the boxing output of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Franklin was also a producer of World Series of Boxing events for NBC Sports and, prior to that, for FOX Sunday Night Fights.

Franklin's relationship with Dinkins, a senior executive at SHOWTIME, stems from this period. Dinkins oversees SHOWTIME's boxing output and also oversaw the networks foray into Mixed Martial Arts via the EliteXC promotion.

He confirmed to Bloody Elbow today that the meeting had taken place, providing Las Vegas as the location and describing Dinkin as "an old friend from the boxing business", but said that it should not be inferred that there is any rift between GLORY and SPIKE TV|.

"Operating in the best interests of all Glory stakeholders, it behooves us to discuss broadcast opportunities with all networks that reach out to us," Franklin told Bloody Elbow.

Is GLORY is looking to move on from SPIKE? According to Franklin. he sees potential in a multi-platform model as used by other sports properties in the American television market. GLORY already airs its ‘Superfight Series' cards on the CBS Sports network; CBS is also the owner of SHOWTIME.

"The model of major sport leagues is not one of exclusivity - NFL, MLB, NBA and even PBC [boxing] operate across multiple networks," he explained.

"We have a great partner in SPIKE but we are also on CBS Sports Network and we syndicate our ancillary products on multiple regional sport network, including through Fight Sports Network. The goal is to maximize exposure and thereby reach our fanbase."

The possibility of a SHOWTIME partnership leading to some kind of marquee event(s) on CBS itself is surely not one which has gone unnoticed by Franklin.

SHOWTIME's venture into Mixed Martial Arts with the Elite XC brand had a provision for the main CBS network to broadcast several events a year. The 2008 fight between Kimbo Slice and James Thompson set a viewer record - 6.51 million - which only one fight (Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos on FOX) - has since eclipsed.

In the meantime, GLORY's next fights will take place Saturday, September 19 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, USA as part of the Bellator: Dynamite hybrid MMA and kickboxing event. The event will air live and free in prime time on Spike TV and tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.

Bellator's main event is a world light-heavyweight title fight between champion Liam McGeary and former UFC chamoion Tito Ortiz, while GLORY's centerpiece fight is also a light-heavyweight title fight as power-puncher Zack Mwekassa meets Saulo Cavalari for the vacant belt.