New Japan Pro Wrestling Possible US Expantion

After the New Japan Pro Wrestling Long Beach USA G1 Special shows, I've been thinking about all the ways they could expand into the US market. The idea is that New Japan want to make a real push into the US market.  You can see this push starting in 2014 when they started the TV show on AXS TV and adding US commentary to NJPW World in 2015.

I think touring is important in pro wrestling.  You can have some fans in a country where you don't do live shows, but your growth is limited.  Even if NJPW World has 20,000 subscribers in the US, it is on the lower end for US streaming subscription services.

I will admit that I know very little about NJPW business model.  I am for all intents just spit balling here.  I do know a little about watching business trends and streaming media.  If you want to be a big player you have to be big in international markets.  Half of Netflix subscribers are international.  Any real growth for pro wrestling companies are going to come from international markets over the next 20 years or so. 

Big Event Weekends - This is where New Japan has one to three big event weekends in the US.  It would look very much like the Long Beach shows where the weekend has two shows with story lines that extend over both shows.  Both shows would be booked into the same building.  Likely to sell out the shows to current New Japan fans traveling to see the shows.

Advantage - Easiest way to keep the authentic New Japan experience.
This has the lowest risk of going wrong.
Does not take away from Japanese dates.
Few logistics to deal with.

Disadvantage - Not likely to grow the fan base.
Does not make an major impact on the US market.
Limited chance for media attention.

Short Tours - This is when New Japan takes a short tour, 4 to 10 shows over a week or two in the US.  This would be like how the WWE does their international tours.  These tours can be done one to three times a year in the US.

Advantage - Brings live shows to more cities.
Can make more inroads into US Market
More changes to sell NJPW World

Disadvantage - Greater impact on current Japanese shows
Can hurt relationship with ROH
More Finical Risk
Might have fewer Japanese wrestler per tour
Would have to book shows during Monday-Thursday

Second Touring Brand - This is where New Japan starts a whole different tour.  This would be a second group that just tours the US.  New Japan would move wrestlers between the Japan and US at different times of the year.  The US tour roster would still be on the New Japan big shows like Wrestle Kingdom.

Advantage - Gives a permanent presence in the US Market.
Can give more video content for US television.
Gives US fan more local content for NJPW World.

Disadvantage - Huge Finical Risk
Can over saturate the US Market.
Would face competition from US Indie Promotions.
Would be very hard to keep an authentic New Japan experience.
Hard to manage the wrestler rosters to give the fans all the wrestlers they want to see.
Some people will see the US tour as a B-Show no matter what.
Japanese fans might not like or care about the US brand.
Might alienate longtime American NJPW fans.

Crazy Ideas.

Add Two Additional Blocks to the G1- This is the idea NJPW would add two additional G1 blocks and those two blocks would be only on US shows.  The US final would be the build to the final in Japan getting American fans to watch. 

Advantage - It is really ambitious.
Shows everyone NJPW is serous about the US market.
It is like nothing else in the current US wrestling market.

Disadvantage - There is so many ways this could go wrong.
Alienation of Japanese fans.
It would take years before anyone would accept the US block winner could win the whole G1.
Average American fans don't really understand this tournament structure 

Buy Ring of Honor - I heard this idea from everyone's favorite business analyst, Chris Harrington.
The rumor is Sinclair Broadcasting wants to unload Ring of Honor.  New Japan could buy Ring of Honor for the tape library and put those matches on NJPW World.

Advantage - Knowledge of the US Market
Relationships with US venues
Instant US content for NJPW World
More wrestlers that have names in America

Disadvantage - Cost
Existing contracts
What are they really buying?

License New Japan to another promoter - Find an existing US promoter and have them put on all the local shows.  New Japan would retain the Video rights, but the US promoter would get the live gate.

Advantage - Lower financial risk
Do not have to build up relationships with US venues
Do not need to operate a US Booking office.

Disadvantage - Less control of the product
Need to trust your business partner
Risk reputational damage
Risk brand damage


Popular Posts