by Christian Duque
Who remembers when bodybuilding was on TV, when you spoke about Mr. Olympia 2014 on ESPN, Fox Sports or as NBC? Bodybuilding is a sport that is aware of its cult existence, but has always had mainstream ambitions. This is not a sport that wants to stay small, but that wants to lead the fitness revolution in households from coast to coast and around the world. In fact, former IFBB President Ben Weider had a lifelong goal to watch the sport at the Olympics.
Speaking of associations: we have the absolute best in the IFBB Pro League – the only way to the most prestigious event in sport – the Olympia. If you have the best competitors, the best events and the best associations (the NPC at the amateur level and the IFBB Pro League at the pro level), it is essential that you have first-class media. We are very fortunate to have NPC News Online, the gold standard for reporting on competitions, but when it comes to programs, it's a very different topic.
There are certainly some great networks out there like Muscular Development (the King of the Pack), Generation Iron and Muscle Insider. There are some other websites that are one step below, and a vast sea of others that are one step below. When Dan Solomon founded Digital Muscle, however, he created a hub that brought together the best writers from declining print times and introduced them to a whole new digital world that changed the media forever.
Digital Muscle didn't try to reinvent the wheel or offer a better one. They created an empire. For this reason, DM cannot be grouped with websites. The model Solomon created was one that in many ways came from the golden era of reporting when news reporters reported news – revolutionary, wasn't it? There was no place for drama, definitely no bad news and no clickbait. This approach brought DM considerable credibility and also made it very attractive to advertisers who wanted to have their goods in front of as many people as possible. In the end, Dan would sell Digital Muscle to Jake Wood of Wings of Strength and then become Chief Olympia Officer. When it was time to find the right man to carry the torch with DM, it was clear that Shawn Ray from IFBB Hall of Famer “Sugar” was the perfect man for this job.
Monday NIght Muscle, moderated by Shawn Ray and Bob Cicherillo, is really all about the new era that is fueling the 2020 Olympic weekend. From the move from The Orleans, a great but outdated hotel and venue, to the Zappos Theater and Planet Hollywood Resort in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, the competition will breathe new life. If you watch this first episode of MNM, you'll think of SportsCenter or Fox Sports – it's the latest. The previews of reporting alone have aroused serious interest. The pre-production is in a nutshell, the audio / video is top notch, and 2019, where Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry rules, is the way to get the ball rolling. If you want to start the world's best show on the world's best network, don't start with anyone as your first guest. Brandon Curry is the man !! He is the king. He is the No. 1 bodybuilder in the world and he is my choice to win again in 2020.
If you see Brandon Curry up there or see him in photos eating with big boss Jake Wood and editor-in-chief Shawn Ray, that says a lot too. The perception is huge and they did it. Not only have they made it, they can also substantiate the perception with facts. While others pretend to make it, DM is very big and they have the reputation and respect to support it. You have already made a great impression with this program and it is not even finished !!
In addition to the big guests and the outstanding production value, DM editor-in-chief Shawn Ray and Masters Mr. World Bob Cicherillo will moderate MNM. Bob is bullied everywhere and considered by most to be the voice of bodybuilding. He has been a driving force in the media of the fitness industry since Pro Bodybuilding Weekly. The same guy who basically entertains the audience (in Vegas and worldwide) throughout the Olympic weekend will now do it weekly for a weekly show along IFBB Hall of Famer's "Sugar" Shawn Ray.
Bob and Shawn have so much in common that it's not even funny. Both are IFBB professionals, both were athlete representatives (at different times), both are moderators, both are organizers of competitions and both are fixed points in the industry media. Another great passion that these guys share is that they are both historians of the sport. This is huge because when you talk about current events, you can compare and contrast past eras, and that makes the content more attractive to more people.
You could have a man who loves the golden era, another who adores the 90s, and a man who follows the sport today and everyone will find something cool on Monday night. From there, this weekly program could also draw viewers' attention to Digital Muscle. How to expand the hub and the sport. Imagine that weekly show would spawn a DM fan, and from there, that person would buy a competition ticket, participate in one, and / or buy a supplement advertised on the website. These are all examples of growing bodybuilding. That is what we all want and what makes a sport with a cult following mainstream.
In addition, bodybuilding has been trying for years to find a way to get back on TV. That includes jumping through a lot of tires, politics and campaigning for the networks. No question, Shawn could have made it possible. After all, he worked in these networks and was involved in bodybuilding years ago. However, instead of doing what has already been done, they are doing something new and innovative – from scratch. They also create a model that is tailored to how people view programs today – all online. If you want to watch an online show on TV, you can, but the vast majority of people watch on their cell phones. Some listen while they work and drive, others see and hear while doing cardio, and others save the episode and watch it over 30,000 feet on a long flight that Shawn Ray, Bob Cicherillo and their guests enjoy.
Monday Night Muscle is where it is !! I'm also really looking forward to Digital Muscle with Shawn Ray at the helm, the second year of Mr. Olympia with Dan Solomon at the helm and with Jake Wood as the new owner of the Olympics weekend. The fact is, 2020 was a very difficult year for sports, but things are looking really good. There is a lot to look forward to and the Olympics this year will be absolutely illuminated. I definitely don't miss it and you really should try to be there too!