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Новите собственици на NJPW и плановете им за компанията


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В случай, че някой не е разбрал: преди седмица и нещо най-голямата японска кеч компания беше продадена и вече има нов собственици:

New Japan Pro-Wrestling has new owners! After seven years of being majority owned by the video game company Yukes, NJPW has changed hands and has been purchased by Bushiroad Inc.. Bushiroad is an anime/manga media company that has several successful card games, a few video games and a bunch of internet radio stations. It has shown rapid growth of late, with their capital listed at around 99,500,000 JYP (approx 1.3 million USD). Bushiroad appears to have no only bought out Yukes’ 51.5% majority of shares but the rest of the shares as well, and now owns 100% of the company (10,000,000 shares). Rumor has it New Japan was sold for 500 million yen or $6,550,000. The reasons behind the sale are not clear but it is thought that Yukes may be cutting costs.

Bushiroad has been a sponsor of New Japan events for several years now, including last year's G1 Climax, so is no stranger to the promotion it now owns. What special plans, if any, Bushiroad has for New Japan will be revealed at a special presentation on February 29th.

The president of Bushiroad - Takaaki Kitani - did drop some hints though, suggesting they want to appeal to wrestling fans of all ages and perhaps grab the attention of more young people. And they are not content with New Japan being merely the domestic giant of professional wrestling, they want the company to be known around the world.

Encouragingly the president is a lifelong fan of pro wrestling, saying he was a big fan of Inoki and was obsessed with wrestling. New Japan wrestlers were very thankful to Yukes as fans also will be, as by purchasing the company they helped lay out a platform for a rebuilding process that has dragged New Japan from a bad state where extinction wasn’t out of the question into a very healthy state now. The Bushiroad-owned New Japan and Yukes will retain a close relationship.

A сега пък се чуха още неща относно плановете на новите собственици:

New Japan recently averaged around 130 shows per year, down from the 300 they ran in the 1980s. Kidani said he wants to reduce the number of shows even more, saying the wear-and-tear on the wrestlers is too much and it will prolong their careers.

When asked where he would make up this income he said: more Pay-Per-Views, event program sales and a card game. He said outside the card game, he wants to offer a larger range of merchandise including t-shirts and action figures for all the wrestlers. He also wants to make the live show production and arenas more "showy". He also mentioned TV Asahi.

They will keep the characteristics of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, so there won't be any drastic changes inside the ring/style-wise.

He wants to regain the 35+ age demographic which has slipped (it was 20% of the fanbase), and said it's almost impossible to gain a quick boost in the youngest demographic (little kids). He also wants to target the 15+ age demographic for future fans. He said he's looking to Okada (24) to be a type of "big brother" character to this demographic, and Tanahashi (35) to get back the more old school fans.

He wants to enter the Mexico market more, and also mentioned Singapore as a place he wants to center on in Asia (apparently Bushiroad already has an existing office there), but also wants to expand in Asia as a whole.

To him the 1/4 Tokyo Dome show is a staple and he wants it to be a bigger world event.

He wants to organize and put out the full 2012 schedule as soon as possible.

As a kid he was huge fan of the World Tag League and a fan of tag team wrestling. So he said he wants to see more of an emphasis on tag team wrestling personally, and wants to bring in famous tag teams from all around the world to compete in it.

He really wants to try to lure the fans who stopped watching back into the fold. He said one of the problems is the TV show is on too late at night, and those people (35-60) have to work and can't be watching TV at midnight. He said an earlier time slot is imperative.

Also with this in mind he wants to provide on the internet on-demand shows but also place commercials featuring the wrestlers during prime time on regular TV.

All the wrestlers need to utilize Twitter and social media to connect more with the fans as much as possible.

He believes just properly marketing the product will gradually increase the fanbase and he's looking at it long term not a quick fix.

One of the reasons Bushiroad grew so rapidly in the short term is because he placed more of an emphasis and money on advertising and marketing then most companies do.

He said new media will be the "multiplier effect" that will increase sales, but he also has lots of experience in regular TV and "understands that business well."

There are fan events planned where people will get to meet the wrestlers. He wants to get them on internet radio, Twitter and wants to find out which ones can write the best and get them a syndicated column. He feels this way he'll see which wrestlers connect best with the fans and he will promote them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Bushiroad, the new owners of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, today held a live presentation to announce some details on the future direction of the company. Here are the main things revealed at the event:

- Takaaki Kitani owns 23.3% of NJPW, 66.7% belongs to Bushiroad as a whole, and this leaves 10% that is owned by the tv broadcast station TV Asahi.

- “WRESTLE KINGDOM 7 IN TOKYO DOME” has already been confirmed for 1/4/13. They seem to have dropped the Roman numeral numbers for various concepts such as this so it’s listed as 7 instead of VII.

- The “G1 CLIMAX 22″ was also announced with two dates revealed: 8/3 Korakuen Hall and 8/12 Sumo Hall (the final).

- The yearly Sumo Hall event in October has been given a “more intelligible name” and from now on will be called “KING OF PRO WRESTLING IN RYOGOKU”, named after a new card game Bushiroad will be releasing.

- The historic “G1 TAG LEAGUE” name is no more and the concept will be renamed to the “WORLD TAG LEAGUE” while the end-of-year tour will be called “ROAD TO TOKYO DOME” to make it more of a coherent lead-in to the January super-show.

- There will be a new event in September at the Ryogoku Kokugikan called "VOLTAGE ROAD".

- Other minor tours will be renamed such as the January/February series becoming “NEW YEAR GOLDEN ROAD”.

- The most intriguing one is that something called the “WORLD WAR LEAGUE” will begin in Spring 2013, hinting at something new, possibly international based and a replacement for the New Japan Cup?

- New Japan will begin to produce a new 60 minute show on BS Asahi with the tentative name of “WORLD PRO WRESTLING RETURNS”.

- New Japan will begin to produce a new late-night radio show on AM1422 with the tenative name of “NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING RADIO”.

- TOKYO MX will beging to rebroadcast the famous “Tiger Mask” anime with the idea it could reach young kids who would then become interested in New Japan, where of course the fourth generation of Tiger Mask has wrestled for years now.

- As mentioned, Bushiroad will release a new trading card game called “KING OF PRO WRESTLING”, a release that has been planned for some time, even before the company bought out New Japan. The first booster pack is scheduled to come out around the time of the 10/8 Sumo Hall show and players will be able to discover combos with tag teams and many other cool features.

- The well known Good Smile Company have began making a brand new range of New Japan figures and the president of the company, Aki Takanori, had some banter with wrestlers present today – such as being politely asked by Tenzan to make his head smaller than on usual Tenzan action figures! Kojima wants people to be able to press a button and hear his voice.

- New Japan wrestlers will begin to use the power of Twitter more, to communicate with fans. Ace Hiroshi Tanahashi can now be found @tanahashi1_100. Others are already on Twitter such as Okada, Nagata, Naito, Devitt, Nakamura, Captain New Japan, and Kanemoto.

- Sumo legend Akebono will return to New Japan from the summer and by the sounds of it will make New Japan his main home from that point onwards. He said he is looking forward to returning and dying New Japan the colour of Akebono.

The ultimate aim of New Japan under Bushiroad seems clear – to become bigger, better, and more accessible to new fans. And not just Japanese fans as it is clear that Bushiroad wants to make New Japan more of an international company and expand beyond the comfort zone of Japan. The renaming of shows/tours, the release of card games and action figures, the rebroadcast of Tiger Mask… all point towards a new direction for New Japan with new names and ideas, without changing the traditional feel of the company too much.

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