by MMAWeekly.com Staff
Ryan Bennett sat down with the man who will launch the first fight network in North America, Mike Garrow in our Interview of the Week.
MMAWeekly: Mike you broke the story on MMAWeekly last Monday that The Fight Network has struck a deal with PRIDE FC as part of your MMA programming line up. Can you tell our readers a bit more about The Fight Network, its launch plans in Canada and what other types of programming they can look for on the channel?
Mike Garrow – The Fight Network is a cross-platform media company with interest in television, radio, print and online content offerings; we are prepared to launch our 24/7 combatant sports television specialty service into the Canadian market (summer of 2005.) Our channel is dedicated to delivering the best of boxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts and related movies, documentaries and news twenty-four hours a day.
The Fight Network Inc…. Ryan was granted a Category 2 broadcast license to operate in Canada a twenty-four hour specialty channel to be billed as; TFN-The Fight Network.
This license was approved by the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (“CRTC”) which is the governing body in Canada that legislates and approves the operating of broadcast services.
We where thrilled to announce our programming agreement with PRIDE FC last week. As you know and I know your readers do, PRIDE is a world class organization. The fact that our viewers in Canada will be able to view PRIDE events on a more frequent bases on our channel each month adds a great lift to our MMA line up.
MMAWeekly: What is your goal for this new network?
Garrow: The goal for The Fight Network is really about the building of a brand; that over time consumers will come to identify us as a multi-platform media leader in the world of combatant sports. It may seem grand but we are in this for the long haul.
MMAWeekly: We have heard so many rumblings of new
networks coming about, you will be the first 24 hour
fight network launched in North America. What other
programming will be on the network?
Garrow: As I understand it we (The Fight Network) will be the first come August upon our Canadian launch. The fact that we are combining all various disciplines and genres makes us differ from others that have discussed in the media their versions of a “fight channel”, but at the end of the day I think it will be all the auxiliary business models that The Fight Network have planed for our brand that will set us apart.
MMAWeekly: Pride of course was the first MMA
organization you signed, what about other
Garrow: We will be making other announcement in the coming weeks regarding other organizations we will be working with and the events we have acquired. As you know Ryan; each MMA promotion brings something a little different to the table in terms of their shows so we want to let the additional announcements stand on their own. I’m sure however when it comes time to rolling out the info we will look to MMA Weekly as a way to get the message out to readers/viewers regarding the rest of our MMA line up.
MMAWeekly: The Canadian fans are obviously thrilled with the announcement, but the fans in America are obviously jealous. When will we see the Fight Network comes to the States?
Garrow: We have had many American consumers hit our site asking us that very question, and I’m sure when they see our new site that is scheduled to roll out with the channel launch in early July many more request will come.
All I can say at this time is we are working on it. The US is certainly a larger marketplace but if MMAWeekly (readers) want to request The Fight Network from their local MSO’s, Satellite and IPTV providers simply let them know about us and we will keep our American friends up to date on our progress via our new website.
MMAWeekly: What are going to be the biggest obstacles you will face launching a new fight network?
Garrow: Well in terms of the Canadian marketplace we have certainly passed a major one by being granted our 24 hour broadcast license by the Canadian government, but in terms of other challenges I think it will be just getting the word out that this service is up a running, but I also think we will work through that like any other new product coming to market, its about being creative and getting the message out not only through traditional media buys but grass roots and focused outlets like this interview thanks to MMA Weekly.
MMAWeekly: Talk about your background. How did you get involved with the Fight Network and what is your favorite sport that you will televise on your network?
Garrow: My background is from the interactive world, how I got involved in this is when they launch many of the new digital television channels in Canada I was heading up some of the WebTV application for some other companies looking to launch new services. I came up with the idea that I pitched to my buddy’s from my recreational hockey team. A 24 hour channel that showed All Fights, All the Time “The Fight Network,” they loved the idea I loved the idea so I went about it. As it turned out one of the guys on my team was a financer (Sandy Winick) he liked the idea as well. I guess you could say it was a meeting over beer and wings that got this whole thing rolling. Two years later we are getting ready to launch, it is some what surreal.
In terms of my favorite sport (entertainment) we will be airing pro wrestling, always loved it as a kid growing up, but I do have to say that having now attended some live MMA events and looked at a lot more shows that our programming department is pulling in I can see why people get hooked on this stuff so quickly its right up in your face, something that I’m hoping our channel will be like when it hits the airwaves this summer.
MMAWeekly: We appreciate the time and can’t wait to see your future which we hope includes programming in the U.S….thanks Mike.
Garrow: Thank you Ryan, we are looking forward to Getting it On!