SBD/May 9, 2011/Media

Showtime's Airing Of Pacquiao-Mosley Could Start Movement For Boxing On TV

TV execs waiting to see if Pacquiao-Mosley surpasses 1 million PPV buys
Saturday's Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight on Showtime PPV was considered by some to be a "transformative event, perhaps boxing’s first step back toward terrestrial television," and the "most immediate gauge will be the buy rate," according to Greg Bishop of the N.Y. TIMES. Such impact from Pacquiao's victory, airing on Showtime after heavy network TV promotion on CBS, "remains possible, but unlikely," and will take "weeks, even months, to sort through.” Whether promotion on CBS, including the "Fight Camp 360" series, "will attract more casual viewers, at $54.99 a pop, will be examined closely.” Promoters and networks execs said that the “magic number” is “roughly one million buys.” The consensus is that “slightly above one million would leave room for interpretation; below that would be considered failure; at 1.4 or 1.5 million, boxing’s landscape, the way major fights are promoted and distributed, could change for good.” But Bishop wrote boxing is “unlikely to return to terrestrial television any time soon” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/7). MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds noted some believe that Saturday's fight was to be a "transformative mechanism to return boxing to the networks,” and although broadcast exposure “would certainly help the sweet science, the move seems unlikely.” What is “important in the short-term is to assess whether all of the marketing muscle, the digital simulcasts and the expanded VOD offerings contributed to an increase” in the fight’s buy rates and revenues (MULTICHANNEL.com, 5/8). 

DOING SOME HEAVY LIFTING: On Long Island, Greg Logan noted HBO has “gotten back in the heavyweight business with the Klitschko brothers.” HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg “recently denied any direct linkage" between Pacquiao electing to partner with Showtime for Saturday's bout and HBO's  "decision to televise Wladimir Klitschko’s heavyweight unification match with WBA champion David Haye on July 2, but the timing is impossible to ignore.” Pacquiao’s move to Showtime “is a one-fight deal, and HBO continues to do business with other” Top Rank fighters. Top Rank Chair Bob Arum said that the “opportunity to partner with CBS in the Showtime deal and receive pre-fight exposure on regular broadcast TV was something he couldn’t pass up.” Logan noted it has been “three years since Wladimir Klitschko appeared on HBO and slightly less than two years since Vitali Klitschko pounded American Chris Arreola on HBO in a sad exhibition” (NEWSDAY, 5/8).

GREENBURG STAYING PUT: HBO Sports Friday afternoon denied a report that it has hired Yahoo Exec VP/Americas Ross Levinsohn as its next President, replacing Greenburg. HBO Sports VP/Sports Publicity & Media Relations Ray Stallone called the BoxingScene.com report "totally untrue" (THE DAILY). The report was updated earlier Friday to include a comment from Yahoo VP/Corporate Communications May Petry, who said, "Ross Levinsohn is not leaving Yahoo! to join HBO Sports and is very happy at the company" (BOXINGSCENE.com, 5/6).
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Media, Boxing, CBS, Showtime, HBO

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