×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Pride FC U.S. deal knockout

Pact improves reach to cable subs in N. America

Japan-based fighting circuit Pride FC grabbed a toehold in the U.S. market, announcing a pay-per-view distribution deal with In Demand and its first-ever U.S. event.

The moves are important steps for the 6-year-old circuit of almost-anything-goes fighters, which is trying to take on established grappling giants such as World Wrestling Entertainment and Ultimate Fighting Championships for a share of the lucrative U.S. market.

Dream Stage Entertainment, the company behind Pride FC, also named Nobuyuki Sakakibara as company president, and said Sky PerfecTV!, the big Japanese digital satellite TV provider, had bought a stake. Terms of the investment were not released.

The Pride matches bring together fighters of numerous martial arts traditions from around the world in full-contact matches that allow nearly every kind of hold or move.

The franchise already has deals with DirecTV and the Dish Network among other satellite and pay-per-view providers in various territories, but the In Demand deal should substantially improve its footprint among terrestrial cable subscribers in North America. In Demand can reach 27 million households and will carry its first Pride event June 13.

Sakakibara, the new president, actually founded the Pride franchise in 1997 in Japan, then joined Dream Stage in 1999 as chief producer. Last summer he was promoted to managing director of the company. Previously, he worked for Tokai TV Promotional Co., producing golf tournaments and an annual summer music festival, “Kai-Yu-Sai.”

More TV

  • Charmed -- "Let This Mother Out"

    'Charmed' Showrunner Exits, Craig Shapiro & Elizabeth Kruger Board Series

    The CW’s reboot of “Charmed” is changing showrunners. Variety has learned that Carter Covington has stepped down as showrunner on the series, which has already been renewed for a second season. Husband and wife team Craig Shapiro and Elizabeth Kruger have been brought on to helm the series going forward. Shapiro and Kruger are currently [...]

  • Apple TV Plus Reese Witherspoon Jennifer

    What We Know About 'Amazing Stories' And Other Shows Coming to Apple TV+

    Viewers got a sneak peek of upcoming shows coming to Apple TV+, Apple’s newly unveiled streaming service, during the company’s live-streamed event in Cupertino, Calif., on Monday. The stars and creators of the most highly anticipated projects like Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and “The Morning Show” from Reese Witherspoon appeared on stage to reveal more [...]

  • WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01

    Richard Gere Series 'MotherFatherSon' Sold to Multiple Territories

    BBC Studios, the British public broadcaster’s commercial arm, has announced a raft of territory sales for Richard Gere starrer “MotherFatherSon,” a drama series written by Tom Rob Smith, Emmy-nominated for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” The show will screen Tuesday at Series Mania, France, in the International Panorama section. Buyers for the eight-part thriller include [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Trailer for 'Special'

    In today’s roundup, Netflix releases a trailer for “Special,” and Wrestlemania’s main event will be a women’s match, a first in WWE history. FIRST LOOKS Netflix has released the trailer for its upcoming 15-minute comedy show “Special.” Ryan O’Connell stars in the semi-autobiographical series about life as a gay man with cerebral palsy. The series is [...]

  • Apple Event: Everything We Learned From

    Everything We Learned From Today's Apple Event

    After revealing new services in news, finance, and gaming, Apple CEO Tim Cook kept the biggest, most anticipated announcement until last. Cook, along with heads of worldwide video programming Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, and a whole group of Apple’s creative talents, presented the company’s new Apple TV+ streaming service, which is slated to [...]

  • Lauren Whitney

    Miramax President of TV Lauren Whitney Exits to Join Spyglass Media Group

    Lauren Whitney, the president of television for Miramax, is leaving the company, Variety has learned. She will now become the president of television for Spyglass Media Group effective April 1. The news comes less than two years after Whitney first joined Miramax. There, she oversaw the studio’s television development, in addition to “Spy City,” produced by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content