NJPW is headed back to US television.
New Japan Pro-Wrestling announced they have partnered with Roku Channel to bring fans a weekly one-hour program every Thursday beginning on February 11. The show is scheduled to air at 5 p.m. ET in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom.
Other NJPW content will also be available on-demand.
NJPW partners with the Roku Channel in US, Canada, UK
Weekly New Japan Pro-Wrestling program to premiere February 11 on The Roku Channel, with a block of NJPW library content to be made available on-demand
February 4, 2021 –New Japan Pro-Wrestling Co., Ltd. (NJPW) today announced a partnership with Roku, Inc. (NASDAQ: ROKU) to bring NJPW content to The Roku Channel in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The eponymous New Japan Pro-Wrestling, a one-hour weekly series featuring the athletic action of the world’s preeminent pro-wrestling organization, will air episodes featuring top matches and events that have yet to air on television outside of Japan.
Premiering February 11, episodes of New Japan Pro-Wrestling will air every Thursday beginning at 5 pm on The Roku Channel, and will be available on-demand thereafter. Additionally, The Roku Channel will host a block of library content, featuring key highlights from the 2020 NJPW catalogue, with potential for the introduction of more historical content in the future.
Availability on The Roku Channel makes NJPW the first pro-wrestling company to call an AVOD service home. As pro-wrestling fans increasingly seek out new platforms to watch content, the partnership brings the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s “Promotion of the Year” for the last eight consecutive years to North American and U.K. audiences at a major level for free.
“Expanding the breadth and quality of our programming has fueled The Roku Channel to one of the largest and fastest growing channels on our platform,” said Ashley Hovey, Director of AVOD Growth, Roku. “Sports programming continues to be an important category for our users, and we are very excited to partner with NJPW to put the world of professional wrestling at the fingertips of millions of engaged users on The Roku Channel.”
“Our fans in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are among our most loyal, and they have been very clear that they want NJPW’s content made available to them,” said Takami Ohbari, President of NJPW. “NJPW is unlike any other pro-wrestling in the world. It is the most athletic, sports-oriented pro-wrestling on the planet, and we are excited to bring our athletes and matches to these markets in such a major way. Thank you to The Roku Channel, and we look forward to a successful partnership that brings NJPW to millions of new fans around the world.”
The partnership comes on the heels of NJPW’s rapid growth in North America and the United Kingdom. The past two years have seen large-scale NJPW events in Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco and London, as well as a record-setting 15-minute sellout of Madison Square Garden in April 2019. This partnership will see NJPW increase its international foothold, bringing its content to new audiences for the first time.
Roku continues to be the number one TV streaming platform in the United States in terms of hours streamed, according to Kantar. The Roku Channel delivers thousands of titles, including free movies and TV episodes. In the fourth quarter of 2020, The Roku Channel reached United States households with an estimated 61.8 million people.
Roku is a registered trademark of Roku, Inc. in the U.S. and in other countries.
NJPW's influence and ties to America have increased in 2021 as the company has entered a working relationship with AEW. Jon Moxley, who holds the IWGP US Title but only appeared at NJPW events in Japan, showed up on Friday's New Japan Strong, and KENTA became the first NJPW contracted talent to appear on AEW television when he attacked Moxley to close AEW Beach Break.
NJPW previously had a US deal with AXS TV, but the relationship between the two parties ended in 2019 after Anthem Sports and Entertainment, IMPACT Wrestling's parent company, bought the network. NJPW began airing on AXS TV in 2014 and showed highlighted matches each week and events on a tape delay.
Fans can still access NJPW content through New Japan World.