Songchai’s Return to Weekly TV on Siam Sport
By Mike LNg
Siam Sport TV is basically the Thai equivalent to ESPN. They even have the slogan “Siam Sport TV, a channel for sports lovers”. Siam Sport has grown because it’s been with growing sports at the grass roots level, and helped emerging fans to have a venue for the sports they love. A good example is with Thai Football league which now has a very committed following due in no small part to Siam Sports’ work to develop an audience.
For a long time Songchai Rattansuban since no longer being chief promoter of Rajadamnern stadium, has literally taken his act out on the road. Since first leaving the stadiums Songchai staged big open air events and S-1 was the brand name he developed to stage these events. Often times these would be 8-man tournaments and even showcased heavyweight Thais fighting for an S-1 title. And by heavy, I mean heavy in an overweight sense. Eventually Songchai would co-promote or be instrumental in bringing top Thai Muay Thai talent to the world. Songchai would even bring to the United States ,with Montri Sunpanich of Muay Thai Association of America based in California, Saenchai Sor Kingstar and Kaoklai Kaenorrsingh. Both had never before been seen by American audiences. Songchai has also been involved in events globally including Germany, Italy, and France among others. Using the One Songchai brand and his style of promoting Songchai seemed to be building an international brand of Muay Thai.
But for whatever reason it would seem Songchai was almost de facto exiled from the stadiums of Thailand despite being a beloved promoter and proven as very able to organize huge headlining events in the stadiums of Thailand. With Songchai Rattansuban some of the biggest and most celebrated events in Muay Thai history happened under his watch. Perhaps the best known are the various matches with Ramon Dekkers in the stadiums of Thailand that Songchai played an instrumental hand in organizing. Strangely, Songchai’s hand was in many respects more absent in Thailand than before.
Recently, Siam Sport TV has cooperated with Songchai to broadcast live Muay Thai matches. The 2 partners involved on the promotional end are Songchai Rattansuban and Chujaroen Raweearamwong. Raweeramwong has proven to be a bold promoter who takes chances creatively and sacrifices much more than what typical promoters are known for. Songchai himself is one of the most beloved promoters of Muay Thai if not the most beloved promoter in Thailand. The collaboration has resulted in a new televised broadcast showcasing fights from Romsrithong. The broadcast will be aired every Sunday from Siam Sport at 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
There is no question that Muay Thai interest and growth in Thailand has eroded significantly and is in fact on the decline there. Adding to the decline, the recent red shirt protests coupled with violence in the streets of Bangkok have further hurt Thailand’s income with many of the clashes taking place right in Lumpinee park. Many promoters have taken bold and creative steps to revive Muay Thai financially and to sustain it with events such as Thai Fight and this year’s Toyota 8-man tournament. Hopefully with Songchai now bringing weekly fights to audiences with Siam Sport TV Muay Thai can begin taking back some of the lost ground and head back into prominence as a sport in Thailand again.