KSW CEO Martin Lewandowski reveals July 11 return, promotional struggles amid COVID-19 1

After being forced to cancel their last three shows, KSW will make its long-awaited return on July 11. The event will be headlined with a grudge match trilogy bout between Norman Parke and Mateusz Gamrot for the undisputed KSW lightweight title, CEO Martin Lewandowski told The Body Lock on the Fight Business Podcast.

The card will be the first for the Warsaw-based promotion since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with Lewandowski stating that the fights will take place from a studio location in Poland.

No fans will be allowed in attendance per government regulations, which will be new for the organization as they regularly host 10,000+ in arenas across the globe. Because live gate plays such an important part in KSW’s incoming revenue, Lewandowski has been working with fighters and sponsors to get creative about cutting costs while finding a way to put on shows that are both safe and profitable.

“It’s a huge difference because it’s one of the most important income [streams] for the company,” Lewandowski told The Body Lock. “We never do a show below 10,000 [fans], so it’s a huge amount of revenue that just passes by, so it’s hard to [make up] those numbers.”

Lewandowski continued, “We renegotiated some of the money, the invoices we had with some fighters, we’re counting on the PPV size, that it will be much higher [than usual]. [We’re] trying to think differently about the promotion, about the fighting business. You need to rethink your whole strategy, to be honest.”

Along with renegotiating current fighter contracts and partnership deals, Lewandowski was blunt in stating that without their normal ticket purchases for live events, the promotion won’t be able to bring in some of the bigger names on KSW’s roster to compete due to costs.

“One of the major things, the big, big, big stars of KSW… we are not going to be able to put [on] a show with those huge names because they cost a lot and without the crowd, we can’t afford it, you know, to pay them without [losing] money,” Lewandowski stated, “So from the business side it doesn’t make sense. Those big, big names need to wait for when the world is reborn again and everything gets back to normal.”

Despite all that, the 45-year-old businessman is optimistic about the future and is excited to get the promotion’s shows back up and running after its three-month-long hiatus and while the future remains uncertain, Lewandowski is hopeful that fans will get used to the new format and is appreciates their patronage all of these years.
“There will be two events in this kind of model, live in-studio sort of show,” Lewandoski said, “I really hope and I believe [that] people will get used to it… We would like people to just feel like we are close to the fans, and we appreciate what they’ve done for us for so many years.”

For more information on Lewandowski’s and KSW’s push to return to action, check out the Fight Business Podcast on The Body Lock’s YouTube channel here.

Lewandowski also appeared on The Body Lock’s Fighting Words podcast, which will be uploaded to YouTube shortly.

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