Who knows if this is just lip service paid at a Japanese press conference, but it’s worth mentioning that UFC officials have said they’re interested in hitting Japan soon. Here’s Asia Executive Vice President Mark Fischer:
“We definitely want to hold a major event in Japan as soon as possible,” he said. “I would say that we’re not ready to announce anything yet but that we’re hoping to have an event later this year or early next year in Japan.”
Backed by a 12-year track record of spearheading the introduction and growth of the NBA in China, Fischer sees the road back into Japan as one that will take time to pave, with particular objectives that need to be met first.
“It’s a step-by-step process. It doesn’t happen overnight,” said Fischer. “We want to build up a good fan base, grow our media exposure, and we want fighters from different nationalities in the UFC before marketing to that nation and bringing in the big event. That big event will be more successful then, and I think that’s what we’re doing here in Japan.”
This was all said at an announcement for a new online content deal with TV Bank that will allow the Japanese to watch stuff on their phones. And if the 90s stereotype was that asians loooooved their cameras, it ain’t nothing compared to how much they looooove their phones now. So this seems like a good strategy in lieu of a network deal with Japan’s big 4 tv networks.
As far as how big of a difference this will make for the company, it looks like fans will actually have legal ways to enjoy the UFC online now. But it still isn’t something that’s going to allow the UFC to go mainstream and pull in oodles of new fans or anything. Read the Sherdog article for more of the specifics. Like most deals with foreign companies we’ve never heard of in lands where the people are foreign and mysterious, it’s a bit hard to gauge.
Back to more ‘We wanna come to Japan’ quotes, this time from Fighters Only:
“I think the landscape is very good. I think we all know that it was maybe tainted a little bit by some of the MMA events and things surrounding them that may have gone on up until now, but I think it’s critical that people understand that the UFC is above all that and stands for excellence in the sport,” he said today.
“We want to expand the number of partners we have here. [TV company] WOWOW has been great, for example,” he said.
“By expanding the number of partners in media, consumer products and potentially sponsorships, it will allow us to have that really big event here and expand even more. I think it’ll be a virtuous cycle for us, in taking these steps.”
Fisher shows he knows how to speak Japanese – no dust man tactics, just a promise of a virtuous cycle for great success!
(image via SportsNavi UFC)