NJPW Owner Takaaki Kidani spoke about the US expansion during a press conference to talk about a lot of topics. The NJPW English site reported on most of the details here. During this press conference he spoke about his plans for the US expansion. Here are some of the highlights:
New Japan World received a site update on May 16, and in the next few days, viewers will be more easily able to access NJPW World through Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV.
Kidani also declared an intention to increase live streamed shows, not just from New Japan itself, but global partners in the form of Ring of Honor, Revolution Pro, and CMLL. There is also a desire to increase the archive content on the World site, and Kidani would like feedback from fans on what kind of original programming they’d like to see on the service. Kidani also pointed to May 17th’s free airing of the Best of the Super Junior tournament opening show as a chance to appeal to new users.
The third tentpole was global strategy, and New Japan’s advance into America. Both Los Angeles G1 Special cards on July 1st and 2nd sold out in the span of two hours. Due to fan demand, extra seating was made available, and these tickets sold out in two minutes. To give an idea of the size of the Long Beach Convention Center to the Japanese media, Kidani likened it to the Ota Gymnasium, and surmised that ‘personally, I think we can run in buildings twice that size’.
In terms of longer term strategy in the US, Kidani talked about plans to start a functioning US subsidiary next year, as well as a dojo based in America, and the IWGP US title announced at ROH’s War of the Worlds event this past weekend.
In analysing NJPW’s prospects in the US, Kidani stated that the company’s unique strengths are ‘presenting the best in ring wrestling in the world, a long history, and an original product not available anywhere else.’ Kidani also stated a desire to sell American cable networks on NJPW content.
With this mindset, Kidani stated he wanted the New Japan product to be presented ‘as is’ to American fans, giving them a unique experience. In regards to developing new stars, he said that we live in an era where ‘stars can be born in an instant’. With the goal of growing American business, Kidani talked about working with American promotions in order to nurture new talent, and bringing a Japanese style of touring promotion to a US territory.
In closing, Kidani said that it’s his goal to expose new, broader audiences to the joys of New Japan, while also taking greater care of the talent involved. It was a strong statement of intent for a company approaching a new stage in its 45 year history.
Some other interesting information passed by Brandon Howard of Fightful.com who does great stuff over there with Mookieghana in terms of financials. Here is a screen shot of the Google trends for NJPW and ROH. ROH is definitely ahead in terms of interest. The time period is from May 20, 2012 through May 14, 2017/ Very interesting to check out.