ANTHEM SPORTS GROUP First Quarter 2023 News & Notes
It’s been a busy 1st quarter of 2023 for Anthem Sports & Entertainment, with history made and new developments for Anthem Sports Group, IMPACT Wrestling, Invicta Fighting Championships, and Fight Network.
ASG Elects Its President
Anthem Sports & Entertainment named Richard Schaefer President of its sports properties, which will now collectively be housed under the Anthem Sports Group (ASG) banner. In this role, Schaefer will oversee Anthem’s popular sports platforms IMPACT Wrestling, Invicta Fighting Championships, and Fight Network, with IMPACT President Scott D’Amore and Invicta FC Founder and President Shannon Knapp reporting directly to him.
With Schaefer at the helm, ASG will pursue additional acquisitions in the combat sports and professional wrestling arenas, and will also seek to expand its offerings by establishing a new boxing promotion platform—utilizing the new President’s wide-ranging background in the sport.
For more info on this and other recent ASG appointments, visit www.anthemse.com
IMPACT Wrestling Enters The “Multiverse”
IMPACT produced the historic “Multiverse United” event on March 30 -- a joint partnership with fellow wrestling icons New Japan Pro-Wrestling -- broadcast live from the Globe Theater in Los Angeles. The sold-out event was proceeded by the promotion’s first-ever live telecast on AXS TV, and was also televised on Anthem’s Fight Network platform.
IMPACT Wrestling made its triumphant return to Canada in March, selling-out both of its shows at Windsor, Ontario’s St. Clair College on March 24 & 25. The promotion will once again roll into the “City of Roses” later this year, when its PPV “Slammiversary” event on July 15 & 16.
2023’s 3 Stars: IMPACT’s January’s “Hard to Kill” in Atlanta, February’s “No Surrender” in Las Vegas, and March’s “Sacrifice” in Windsor, Ontario, all sold out.
A new World Champion will be crowned: The record-setting title run of Josh Alexander is officially over as he will relinquish the IMPACT Wrestling World Championship due to a triceps tear that will require surgery. On Sunday, April 16, at the REBELLION event in Toronto, Steve Maclin and KUSHIDA will face off to determine the new IMPACT Wrestling World Champion.
Five Minute Major: Darren McCarty – a four-time Stanley Cup champion and one of the NHL’s most notorious enforcers – went from front-row fan to participant at an IMPACT Wrestling show on Friday night, March 26, in the company’s annual SACRIFICE live pay-per-view, held in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. When Bully Ray threw a beer in McCarty’s face, it set off the hockey legend, who jumped the guardrail to attack Bully Ray. McCarty was first refrained by security before Bully Ray personally invited McCarty into the ring. Bully Ray and McCarty immediately went at it in a hockey fight brawl. Bully Ray ultimately won the battle when he sent McCarty crashing through a wooden table. McCarty will get his revenge on Thursday, April 6, when he teams with Tommy Dreamer and Yuya Uemura for a fight against Bully Ray and The Good Hands tag team (Jason Hotch and John Skyler). The 6-man war will air at 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV in the U.S., and Fight Network in Canada.
The March 23 IMPACT show on AXS TV grew 20% week-over-week among P2+ viewers and was the highest-rated show for the week on AXS TV. This was the second highest-rated IMPACT show in 2023 with 18% more viewers than the 1st quarter average.
The March 30 IMPACT special “Multiverse United” on AXS TV featuring IMPACT and New Japan Pro-Wrestling talent was the 3rd highest show for 2023 and the highest-rated show on AXS TV for the week.
On the digital media front, IMPACT Wrestling programming amassed 872,674,661 total video views across all Anthem Sports Group digital partner channels for the 1st quarter, while on social media, IMPACT garnered 50,600,000 total impressions on Twitter and reached 379,867,852 accounts on Facebook.
IMPACT’s streak continued with the pre-sale of Series 1 of IMPACT action figures, unveiling the legendary likenesses of IMPACT favorites such as Eddie Edwards, Deonna Purrazzo, Jordynne Grace, and Moose. The launch was met with tremendous enthusiasm upon announcement, yielding yet another impressive sell-out for the brand. Series 2 is currently in production with an expected launch slated for late summer/early fall. Fans can visit ShopIMPACT.com today to bring home their own piece of IMPACT Wrestling action.
Additionally, IMPACT Wrestling was proud to announce the signings of popular tag-team “The Motor City Machine Guns”—Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin—as well as rising Knockouts star KiLynn King and announcer Tom Hannifan.
Invicta FC Makes History With New Global Champions
INVICTA FC 51 took place in January and most notably Talita Bernardo dethroned Taneisha Tennant to become the first-ever Brazilian athlete to hold the Bantanweight title.
Invicta Fighting Championships made yet more history in INVICTA FC 52 on March 15, in front of a sold-out crowd in Denver, delivering a fully-loaded fight card headlined by an historic strawweight title fight. The night’s main event saw Dublin native Danni McCormack dethrone Valesca Machado in five rounds -- earning a place in the record books as not only Invicta FC’s first-ever Irish champion – but the first Irish female champion of any major MMA organization.
Worldwide MMA sensation and fellow Irishman Conor McGregor reacted to Danni’s historic win on his social media account tweet here.
McCormack will defend her title in Boston this fall. This will be the first-ever Invicta Fighting Championships event to take place in Boston. Event details will be announced soon.
Invicta FC will proudly make its way back to the Mile High City for INVICTA FC 53 on May 3, featuring Jillian DeCoursey vs. Rayanne dos Santos for the atomweight championship, as well as Jessica Delboni vs. Danielle Taylor, and Monique Adriane vs. Nicole Geraldo.
Dear Diary: FIGHT NETWORK’s Hit Series Returns For Season Two
Fight Network’s popular original series Diary premiered its second season this quarter, putting the spotlight on 10 all-new episodes profiling top talent from IMPACT Wrestling and Invicta Fighting Championships. Highlights included intimate portraits of IMPACT mainstays Josh Alexander, Rosemary, and Trey Miguel, Invicta standouts Jessica Delboni, Karina Rodriguez, and Kay Hansen, and more.