Last year, 3.5 million Dutch watched the battle between Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari on television. When Harry returns to work Saturday night for the first time since, his fight with Benjamin Adeboy won’t even be broadcast on TV.
A video stream of GLORY 76, in which Hari vs. Adegbuyi is the main fight, is being presented on Saturday, via the Kickboxing Association website for € 12.99.
“A conscious choice,” says Robbie Timmers, CEO of GLORY. “We think this is the best way to attract fans. More and more people are getting used to getting subscriptions to watch sports or entertainment, like Netflix or Amazon.”
Hari also expects pay-per-view to be a hit. Before the match, the kickboxer said, “I know my fans will see me all over the world, at home or from cafes. They will support me from afar.”
“This is a new way to watch sports. You have to be revolutionary,” said Moroccan Amsterdam. “It might be cool now, but it might take two or three fights before people get used to it.”
“But in the long term, pay-per-view is a great way to keep track of fights. You’re on top of the action. The internet will explode because I’m giving fans what they want to see.”
GLORY was acquired after bankruptcy in the time of Corona
Glory may be the last major sports association to resume matches in the Corona crisis on Saturday. The kickboxing organization has gone through a deep financial downturn in recent months.
A part of the company was declared bankrupt and subsequently acquired. The contracts with all fighters remained the same, but many board members and individuals disappeared.
As a result, the 41-year-old Timmers has moved on to the position of Head of Talent and Address People and is responsible for planning fights and negotiating contracts with kickboxers.
Timmers explains the financial woes: “GLORY has grown rapidly and thus made a lot of investments, but when the Corona crisis erupted, investors withdrew.” “Of course it was an exciting time, but it is true for many companies in the time of Corona. I never felt like things were going completely wrong.”
GLORY CEO Robbie Timmers (center) is responsible for planning the battle.
“Pay-per-view is very normal in the United States”
As the governance issues end, Glory looks to the future. Pay-per-view should become a significant source of income for this. “In the United States, this way of watching sports is really very natural,” Timmers says. “Look at Mike Tyson, who recently made $ 10 million (more than $ 8 million, editor) in one fight.”
Timmers doesn’t have exact figures yet on how many people have actually registered to watch the match between Hari and Adegbuyi. “But I heard the sales really exceeded expectations.”
After Saturday’s fight, GLORY 77 is currently only planned (on January 30th), with Rico Verhoeven and Jamal Ben Siddiq facing each other in the main battle. “We’re already busy planning new events. If pay-per-view works, we can really take financial steps,” Timmers declared. Then we’ll organize much bigger and bigger tournaments.
Hari v. Adegbuyi is expected to begin on Saturday between 9.30pm and 10.30pm at a location in Rotterdam that is kept secret for security reasons.