New Fight Net Eyes U.S. Play

It's hard enough for independent U.S. niche digital networks to get carriage, but Canada's Fight Network is in talks with a satellite distributor--CEO Mike Garrow wouldn't say whether it was EchoStar or DirecTV--as well as cable systems and telcos in an effort to get U.S. carriage.

The network, which only launched in Canada in September, has about a million subs, says Garrow. That may not seem like much, but there are only approximately 4.7 million digital subs in the whole country, according to a study released Friday by Ottawa-based Decima Research, though it predicts that number to climb to 5.9 million by the end of  2006.

But Garrow sees the possibility of getting more carriage in the states, more quickly, than he can get in Canada, given the limited size of the pie.

Garrow, who was in Philadelphia this week, points out that usually the media flow goes the other way, with U.S. nets rebranding themselves with a "Canada" on the end. This, he said, could be the first pure play Canadian independent to make the move to the U.S.

The channel covers wrestling, martial arts, boxing, and other combat sports, and has a two-hour syndicated radio show and Web site,

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.