Yao Ming investment group acquires stake in parent company of Glory Kickboxing

September 12, 2016

Former NBA basketball player Yao Ming’s investment company has acquired “a significant stake” in Glory Sports International, the parent company of Glory Kickboxing.  Per a Glory press release on Monday, it has completed a Series B financing led by Yao Capital.

Via Glory press release:

Focusing on growth stage sports & entertainment investment opportunities, Yao Capital was founded by former NBA superstar Yao Ming, veteran investor David Han, the former Chief Investment Officer of Wanda Group and former Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, and Erik Zhang, Yao Ming’s long-time business partner and Team Yao leader.

“To me, the sport of kickboxing is a synonym for courage, grit and the will to succeed,” said Yao Ming, Chairman and co-founder, Yao Capital. “As kickboxing is gaining worldwide popularity among the younger generation, Yao Capital is pleased to partner with GLORY, the world’s number one league in this field. Today, we join forces to promote the sport of kickboxing and encourage more young people to be involved in this sport to become the hero in their own life.”

Payout Perspective:

Yao had a successful career in the NBA with the Houston Rockets and was elected to the Hall of Fame this past year.  Since retiring, Yao has become involved in various businesses.  Yao Capital was established in January 2016.  The investment in sports continues as we know the UFC was purchased by a group led by WME-IMG for $4 billion.  Formula One Racing was recently purchased by Liberty Media valued at $4.4 billion.  Yao’s deal likely represents an opportunity to diversify its holdings as well as the possibility of expanding into China.  For Glory, the investment should help with its infrastructure as it likely looks to expand.

Bellator Kickboxing’s debut draws 346,000 on SpikeTV

April 29, 2016

Bellator Kickboxing last Friday drew an average rating of 346,000 on Spike TV per Nielsen.  The debut of the promotion’s kickboxing followed Bellator 153.

Notably, per Nielsen the first hour of Bellator Kickboxing averaged 464,000 viewers and peaked with 730,000.

Payout Perspective:

The debut of Bellator’s foray into kickboxing promotion did well considering it was late at night following a two hour plus Bellator card.  The broadcast did slightly lower than the average for Glory on Spike TV (in 13 events on the network, it averaged 426,000 viewers).  We shall see if Bellator can fare better than Glory did on Spike.

Glory signs TV deal with ESPN

February 26, 2016

Glory has announced a multi-year agreement with ESPN.  According to the Glory press release, the live events will stream on ESPN3 with replays occurring on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.

Per Glory press release:

Since the relationship began in November of last year, GLORY and ESPN have collaborated in showcasing two non-stop, stand-up striking events — GLORY 25 Milan and GLORY 26 Amsterdam — live on ESPN3, each replayed in prime time on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.

To kick off the landmark multi-year agreement, GLORY 27 Chicago streams live once again on ESPN3, tonight at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, with a replay on ESPN2 Sunday, Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT and ESPN Deportes Monday, March 7 at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

“Working with the team at ESPN has been an absolute pleasure,” said GLORY CEO Jon J. Franklin. “We’re two, after tonight three, events into this relationship and excited that GLORY is part of ESPN’s sports portfolio. There’s no better television home in the United States for the GLORY numbered series.”

As the programming schedule unfolds, future GLORY events will be telecast live on ESPN2 in addition to ESPN3.

“This agreement allows us to continue serving this passionate fan base,” said Matthew Volk, Director, ESPN Programming and Acquisitions. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with GLORY to provide their content throughout the U.S.”

GLORY has secured deals with broadcast networks in over 200 countries to distribute its unparalleled library of kickboxing programming worldwide.

Payout Perspective:

After its relationship with SpikeTV ended, Glory looked for a permanent home.  It had a relationship with ESPN on a per event basis and looks like that both sides are willing to make it more long-term.  In addition, UFC Fight Pass has secured the rights to Glory Super Fight Series as well as Friday’s event also streamed via the digital network.

Coker announces Bellator Kickboxing coming to Spike TV

February 18, 2016

MMA Junkie reports that Bellator is planning to open a kickboxing division come April on Spike TV.  Scott Coker and executive made the announcement on Thursday.

The first event will occur on the network on April 16 in co-promtoion with Oktagon Kickboxing.  The event will take place in Turin, Italy.  A Bellator MMA event will serve as a lead-in to facilitate the buzz for the launch.

The announcement stated that Bellator Kickboxing will feature notable fighters Joe Schilling, Raymond Daniels, Kevin Ross, Keri Taylor-Melendez and Anastasia Yankova.

Payout Perspective:

It’s an interesting move and maybe we understand the reason why Spike TV and Glory did not renew its television deal.  Then again, we probably thought it was the ratings for the sport of kickboxing.  It appears that Spike TV is not giving up on its combat sports-themed night with Bellator, its new kickboxing division and PBC.  It will be interesting to see how this is promoted and if Coker will try to hold another event with a mix of kickboxing and MMA.

Fight Pass adds Glory Superfight Series and Eddie Bravo Invitational

February 11, 2016

UFC Fight Pass announced new content to its digital platform adding Glory Superfight Series and the Eddie Bravo Invitational.  The additions bring more content to Fight Pass.

According to the UFC Fight Pass press release Glory SuperFight Series will start on Fight pass in two weeks while EBI will appear in April.

Per the Glory press release, it states that UFC Fight Pass has licensed the Glory kickboxing library “including access to events and individual fights from promotions like GLORY , K-1, It’s Showtime, and others.”

Payout Perspective:

Fight Pass is making a concerted effort to expand this year.  Later this month, UFC Fight Night on Fight Pass will feature Anderson Silva taking on Michael Bisping in what is the biggest fight on the platform since its inceptions.  The addition of kickboxing and jiu-jitsu should satiate the combat sports fan that are fans of those disciplines.  While we will never see subscription numbers, one would think that the acquisitions would help boost revenue for the business.  For Glory, the move helps the company with its North American fan based.  As it no longer appears on Spike TV, it is finding a temporary home on ESPN.

Glory 26 draws 184,000 viewers Saturday

December 8, 2015

Glory 26 drew an average of 184,000 viewers on Saturday night on ESPN 2 per Nielsen sources.  The rating is a slight decrease from Glory’s recent debut on ESPN last month.

As your recall, Glory parted ways with Spike TV after its last event aired on the network in October.  Shortly, thereafter it found a home with ESPN although the deal appears to be on an event per event basis.

Its initial airing on ESPN 2 drew 184,000 viewers in November.  This past Saturday on ESPN2, it drew 168,000 viewers.  The event on Saturday was a replay from the live event on Friday which aired online at ESPN3.

Payout Perspective:

The event went up against a lot of College Football conference Championship games with the Big Ten Championship on Fox drawing 8.7M viewers and the ACC Championship on ABC drawing another 7M viewers.  On ESPN, the Pac 12 Championship aired on Saturday night too.  The good news is that Glory continues to air on American television.

GLORY Kickboxing signs TV deal with ESPN

November 5, 2015

Glory announced it has forged a new deal with ESPN.  The deal is effective immediately as this Friday’s event will air on the network

Glory 25 Milan, which originally was going to be shown on its web site.  It will now be shown live this Friday, November 6th on ESPN3 at 4pm EST/1pm PST and will replay on ESPN2 at 1:30am EST/10:30pm PST.

ESPN3 is available online at WatchESPN.com.  According to the press release, ESPN3 is available in more than 99 million homes.  ESPN2 is available to approximately over 94 million households in the United States via TV By Numbers.

The news comes just a week after it was announced that the premier kickboxing organization would no longer be shown on Spike TV.  The two sides decided not to continue with its business relationship.  Glory issued a statement related to this.

Via press release:

“We couldn’t be happier to be on multiple platforms of the most watched, most talked about sports network in the world,” said GLORY CEO Jon Franklin. “This Friday will be the first time our stacked card will be available live on both coasts – joining live international broadcasts already scheduled in more than 100 countries, with almost 80 more on delay – and we’re excited to be working with ESPN.


Payout Perspective:

Good news for kickboxing fans.  The question is whether it will be buried at times where people will need to DVR the programming.  Certainly, ESPN3 will help with people finding the live programming but having it on cable TV will help grow the sport in the United States.  Spike TV is in roughly 94 million households.  Thus, Glory does not pick up a lot of households for visibility.  We will see how ESPN promotes the promotion.

GLORY CEO issues statement on promotion leaving Spike TV

October 27, 2015

MMA Payout has obtained a comment by GLORY CEO John Franklin with respect to the MMA Fighting report this morning that GLORY Kickboxing would no longer be seen on Spike TV.

GLORY CEO John Franklin:

Spike was a solid platform to introduce GLORY and kickboxing as a whole in the US. We of course leave the door open to working with Spike again, but for right now, the fit isn’t perfect.

GLORY needs a partnership with a dedicated sports broadcaster, an established destination for the world’s greatest athletic events.  With more original content, shoulder programming, and a view to brand building for the organization and our athletes coming up, GLORY will be able to take its next step as a global sports property.

We want to elevate the sport further and moving from a men’s entertainment network to a dedicated sports network with broadcast affiliates will best serve this goal.

Since we began, GLORY has delivered the most exciting stand-up fighting available and our fans worldwide will not miss that opportunity. Our next card, GLORY 25 Milan will air on US television, as will every card after that. We’ll have an update on where to watch shortly. Stay tuned.

Did Dynamite 1 help promote Glory Kickboxing?

September 20, 2015

Saturday featured the latest from Scott Coker featuring Bellator MMA and Glory Kickboxing in the form of “Dynamite 1” on SpikeTV.  The 3 hour plus show featured a mix of MMA and kickboxing but according to Liverkick.com, the attempt at mixing the two sports was much more a showcase for MMA than it was for kickboxing.

Via Liverkick.com:

What’s clear is that both Bellator and GLORY didn’t exactly mesh well together. Bellator was protective of the card being their show and GLORY was trying to protect the integrity of their own brand and put on a strong showing on their biggest platform. Instead what we got was everything feeling half-cocked. We got two Bellator fights contested under GLORY rules and we got a GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship fight that saw MMA fans turning their noses up at the prospect of having to sit through it for who knows what reason. All of this happened without a single advertisement or mention of GLORY 24 outside of from the lips of Mauro Ranallo and Stephan Quadros.

The event on Spike TV featured more Bellator MMA than Glory Kickboxing even though the arena setup had included the Bellator cage and Glory ring.  Still one of the fights featured a pair of Bellator fighters, Paul Daley and Fernando Gonzalez.  While Daley is an experienced kickboxer, Gonzalez was not.  A women’s kickboxing matchup featured Keri Melendez and one can infer that her appearance was more of a way to promote her future endeavors in MMA.

Payout Perspective:

While the concept of featuring MMA and kickboxing fights on one card sounds like an interesting combat sports event, the reality of last night’s event was that it was more of a vehicle for Bellator than it was for Glory.  The initial thought when hearing of this event seemed to be more of an event mix of both promotions.  However, according to Liverkick.com’s, Dave Walsh, it was clear that kickboxing was taking a backseat to Bellator.  Certainly, the Glory promotion, and the sport of kickboxing on a whole, has yet to gain traction with an American audience.  A quick survey of the ratings from this past year reveals that while Bellator MMA ratings are growing (when considering the implementation of it’s “tentpole” events), Glory ratings are down compared to last year.  Saturday’s event could have been a way for the promotion to show its best.  However, it appears that save for one fight on the main card, it was not able to do it.  We shall see if Spike TV ratings dip dependent on whether MMA or kickboxing were on at the time.  This may reveal whether cross-promotional shows like this will occur in the future.


Glory 23 posts only 295,000 viewers

August 10, 2015

Glory Kickboxing 23 on Friday night drew 295,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.  Although it represents an almost 50% increase from June’s Glory 22, it still is low compared to previous events.

The event aired on Spike TV from 11:00pm to 1:04am on Friday night.

Glory Ratings on Spike
Glory 11 381,000
Glory 12 476,000
Glory 13 659,000
Glory 14 495,000
Glory 15 354,000
Glory 16 498,000
Glory 17 487,000
Glory 18 352,000
Glory 19 542,000
Glory 20 359,000
Glory 21 488,000
Glory 22 152,000
Glory 23 295,000

Glory 23

Prior to the last two events, Glory events on Spike averaged 463,00 viewers.  It now averages 426,000.  The last two events on Spike TV have been the two lowest ratings on Spike TV.

Payout Perspective:

Glory 22 (from France) in June aired the same night as a World Series of Fighting event which may account for June’s low rating.  Still, the event was considerably lower than usual.  Friday’s event featured a middleweight tournament.  But, the 11pm start time might have contributed to the low ratings.  Perhaps the combo event in September with Bellator will help the sport as kickboxing has failed find a steady foothold in the U.S.

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