It appears that GLORY finally has a new television home.
The world's leading kickboxing promotion has apparently come to an agreement with the worldwide leader in sports, ESPN. The company has been very hush-hush recently as well as those close to it, but news leaked early on Thursday morning (Nov. 5, 2015) via Twitter that the "Watch ESPN App" does in fact have the GLORY 25 event listed.
An official announcement has not yet been made.
Based off those listings, the GLORY fight cards would air live on ESPN3, which is the network's online streaming service, and re-air at a later time on ESPN2.
ESPN3 (formerly ESPN 360.com) launched in 2005 and features a wide variety of live sports including: FIFA World Cup global qualifiers, NCAA College Football, Canadian Football league, NBA and WNBA, Golf, Major League Lacrosse, and NCAA Lacrosse.
ESPN2, which launched in 1993, is currently available in over 94 million households and has featured both mainstream and non-mainstream events including: The Australian Open, Wimbledon, Major League Soccer, World Series of Poker, Extreme Sports, Major League Baseball, and Arena Football League.
This would be a huge platform for GLORY to start its next chapter and a home that could see the promotion gain new fans and have highlights featured on SportsCenter and other areas within the brand's realm.
GLORY was broadcast on Spike TV over the last two years, but after 14 fight cards the Viacom network announced last Tuesday (Oct. 27, 2015) it would not be renewing its deal, thus officially leaving the promotion without a broadcast partner.
The writing was on the wall long before that, and Franklin had told MMAmania back in September that the promotion would have an announcement soon, as it was in the process of locking up a new television deal, and that GLORY 25 -- which is set to take place in Monza, Italy on November 6, 2015 -- would be televised in the U.S.
The GLORY CEO released a statement last week following the Spike news, saying the promotion "needs a partnership with a dedicated sports broadcaster, an established destination for the world's greatest athletic events. With more original content, shoulder programming, and a view to brand building for the organization and our athletes coming up, GLORY will be able to take its next step as a global sports property."
It seems GLORY has found what it has been looking for.
This isn't ESPN's first venture into kickboxing. The network was home to Professional Karate Association (PKA) kickboxing from 1979 through 1986 and featured fighters like Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, Benny "The Jet" Urquidez and Dennis "The Terminator" Alexio. Those fights featured two-minute rounds with no kicks above the waist and an eight-kicks per round minimum. The fighters also wore four-ounce pads on their feet.
MMAmania.com has reached out to both GLORY and ESPN, but has not yet heard back at this time. We will provide more information as soon as it becomes available.
Update: GLORY has confirmed to MMAMania that the deal with ESPN is official. GLORY 25 will air tomorrow afternoon on ESPN3 at 4 p.m. ET and replay later on ESPN2 at 1:30 a.m. ET.
GLORY CEO Jon J. Franklin had this to say about the deal.
"We couldn't be happier to be on multiple platforms of the most watched, most talked about sports network in the world," said Franklin. "This Friday will be the first time our stacked card will be available live on both coasts - joining live international broadcasts already scheduled in more than 100 countries, with almost 80 more on delay - and we're excited to be working with ESPN."