SBD/January 26, 2011/Media

CBS Will Air Preview Series Before Pacquiao-Mosley PPV Bout

Arum cites extended reach of CBS/Showtime as focal reason for new partnership
Top Rank and Showtime formally announced today that the May 7 Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley bout will be a PPV product of the cable network, and plans call for "four fight preview episodes" on CBS as part of a new series called "Fight Camp 360," according to Lance Pugmire of the L.A. TIMES. Announcers Gus Johnson, Al Bernstein and former boxer Antonio Tarver are expected to call the fight, Pacquiao's "first non-HBO pay-per-view bout" since '06. Top Rank Chair Bob Arum declined to reveal financial terms of the deal but said, "Is there a cash difference? Hopefully, there will be by getting this fight out there to a bigger audience. I believe it will result in increased sales." Pugmire reports Arum for years has "yearned for a return of Saturday fights on CBS, as he once delivered in the 1970s," but yesterday he was cautious when asked if the new partnership could "serve as a precursor to more boxing on network TV." Arum: "One step at a time. Obviously, we're looking forward to see if it's feasible and see what will happen when we put boxing back on network TV. I'd love to put some really good Saturday night fights back on the networks in prime time" (LATIMES.com, 1/26). Arum stressed that he has "no complaints with HBO, just that Showtime/CBS had a much broader reach, especially in being able to promote fights." He said, "We were limiting our reach. Now that we got this commitment from CBS, and because they own Showtime, we now have the capability to expose this to 150 million homes (compared to 28 million for HBO), in conjunction with some of their biggest programs" (USATODAY.com, 1/26).

ON A BIGGER STAGE: Arum, a friend of CBS Corp. President & CEO Les Moonves, said that it has "not been determined exactly how CBS will be involved" with the fight. Showtime will produce "Fight Camp 360" to promote the bout, and Arum said that the first three episodes will "air live on CBS first and then on Showtime." The fourth and final episode "will be on Showtime live first and then will be repeated on May 7, the day of the fight, on CBS." Arum asserted that reports of CBS' "The Early Show" being based in Las Vegas the week of the fight are "premature." He said, "We’re working with CBS to see which assets will be available, but I have a firm commitment from Les Moonves that he will lend his full support to this project." Arum noted that Top Rank has "been talking with Moonves and CBS for more than two years about such a deal" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/25).
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