SBJ/20101129/This Week's Issue

O’Reilly, MetroPCS use bout to try boxing

Editor's note: This story is updated from the print edition.

Top Rank’s coming pay-per-view featuring Mexican legacy Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. against Pawel Wolek attracted a pair of new sponsors sampling the sport: O’Reilly Auto Parts, which is running an in-store pay-per-view rebate at 728 locations, and MetroPCS, which will give away fight tickets with purchase in its Southern California stores.

Both bought packages that include advertising positions on the ring mat and in the broadcast of the Saturday night card from the Honda Center in Anaheim. Both will have billboard ads during the broadcast. O’Reilly also bought placement on the round clock and final punch stats.

New York-based Leverage Agency, which Top Rank hired to build a roster of multifight sponsors, sold the packages.

Top Rank and Leverage would not reveal financials. O’Reilly executives would not discuss the sponsorship. But the positions O’Reilly took for a pay-per-view this size typically would fetch about $100,000 when packaged together. Chavez’s pay-per-views typically have generated 50,000 to 75,000 buys.

“It’s the right demo and the right market and the right fight for them,” said Keith Wan, director of sports and athlete marketing at Leverage. “It gives them a good test and entry point, as opposed to a fight where they’d have to spend more to take a look.”

The major auto parts chains all are active sponsors in motorsports and make spot plays in college sports and minor league baseball. O’Reilly is the first to take a crack at boxing in recent years. It sees the fight as both a play to attract Hispanics and to build visibility in California, where it hopes to expand. The half-off PPV rebate, tied to the purchase of five quarts of Royal Purple motor oil, is running in top U.S. Hispanic markets, supported by radio ads.

Chavez was scheduled to make an in-store appearance at O’Reilly in east Los Angeles on Friday and at a MetroPCS in Anaheim today.

“It’s one thing for somebody to make a deal to get some exposure and another thing entirely when they activate like this in-store,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. “This is like the pace car for a category that boxing makes sense for. I’m willing to walk down the road with them and see what we can come up with together.”

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