INTERNATIONAL WRESTLING PHENOMENON DRAGON GATE USA INKS NORTH AMERICAN TELEVISION DEALS – WITH iN DEMAND, TVN, BELL AND VIEWER’S CHOICE PPV/VOD Distribution Deals Bring DGUSA into 60 Million Households
New York, June 17, 2009 – Dragon Gate USA (DGUSA), in association with G-Funk Sports & Entertainment, has concluded programming and distribution deals for PPV and VOD wrestling programs with iN DEMAND Networks and TVN in the United States, and Bell and Viewer’s Choice in Canada making the critically-acclaimed DGUSA brand available for the first time ever to approximately 60 million North American households. Similar deals with additional pay-per-view providers are pending.
The agreement calls for a card from North America’s newest, most cutting-edge wrestling company approximately every 60 days from shows filmed in the United States, and will premier in September. A total of six cards are planned throughout ‘09/’10. DGUSA President Satoshi Oji and Vice President Gabe Sapolsky made the announcement today with G-Funk’s President Ken Gelman. The debut event, entitled “Enter The Dragon,” will be taped July 25 in Philadelphia from The Arena (former New Alhambra Arena/ECW Arena), and will feature a spectacular array of talent from Japan, the U.S. and more.
Long revered by a loyal underground fan base, Dragon Gate has been one of the hottest wrestling promotions in Japan over the past few years. The company started out as a local promotion in 2004 and has quickly risen up the ranks, regularly packing houses in excess of 10,000 fans and producing more than 250 shows a year nationwide in Japan. Dragon Gate has been a staple on Gaora TV and produced pay-per-view events in its home country.
“Wrestling fans around the world know the Dragon Gate stars, “ Oji stated. “The next logical step was to launch Dragon Gate USA and showcase these athletes in North America. We are excited to partner with G-Funk Sports & Entertainment and look forward to bringing the next evolution of wrestling to pay-per-view throughout the United States and Canada.”
DGUSA’s Sapolsky has enjoyed a celebrated 15-year behind the scenes career in wrestling. Sapolsky started in the business with the original ECW, working directly for ECW executive producer Paul Heyman. Sapolsky studied his craft carefully under Heyman for seven years. A year after ECW ended its run, Sapolsky started cult-sensation Ring Of Honor and served as the creative head and producer of the critically acclaimed company for almost seven years. Sapolsky’s service earned him four consecutive “Booker Of The Year” awards from The Wrestling Observer Newsletter from 2004-2007.
“I’m truly excited to be involved with such a progressive wrestling organization,“ said Sapolsky. “The North American wrestling scene has grown stale in recent years and many fans have jumped ship completely for MMA. Dragon Gate USA will swing the pendulum back and sound a resounding wake-up call for fans that crave athleticism, action and excitement. This powerful product will bring a cutting-edge wrestling style never before seen on these shores and present wrestling fans with an authentic reason to tune in and order DGUSA on pay-per-view.”
G-Funk Sports and Entertainment represented DGUSA in its negotiations with the PPV companies and the company will also handle all affiliate relations for the wrestling programs moving forward. DGUSA PPV affiliates will have access to a newly created affiliate website, www.dgusa.tv/affiliates which will contain easy-to-implement marketing materials and all event information. Each show will also be supported by a range of targeted national consumer advertising and promotion.
According to Mr. Gelman, “Dragon Gate USA will offer wrestling fans throughout North America a reason to celebrate. These distinctive programs will present a showcase for the most talented and athletic wrestlers on the planet and provide a popular new option for cable operators and satellite providers as they expand their transactional offerings.”
About Dragon Gate USA
Dragon Gate USA recently launched on April 15th of this year and received an immediate following. The combination of Sapolsky and a talent roster focused on Japan’s renowned Dragon Gate athletes saw the company’s website (www.DGUSA.tv) gain 20,000 unique visitors in just its first week and DGUSA’s debut event, scheduled for July 25th in Philadelphia, is already a near-sellout. Dragon Gate USA is based on a motto of “Evolve, Progress and Appreciation.”
Dragon Gate USA is the North American brand of Dragon Gate in Japan. Dragon Gate is now Japan’s hottest promotion with regular PPVs, 250-300 live events per year and attendances that top 10,000 fans.
About G-Funk Sports & Entertainment
G-Funk Sports & Entertainment (www.g-funksports.com) is a full-service agency dedicated to brand activation, strategic integration and driving maximum return on investment for its clients, headed up by Award-winning NHL and WWE marketing and television veteran Ken Gelman. G-Funk’s strengths center on three primary areas, Marketing Services (consumer promotion, affiliate activation and events), Partnership Alliances and Content Management (including distribution drives and launch strategies). Client partners include the National Football League, Ring Of Honor and Strikeforce.
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