SBJ/Jan. 24-30, 2011/Media

Golden Boy hires ex-NASCAR exec for new international TV sales department

Golden Boy Promotions will launch an international television sales department under its Ring TV brand this week, hiring NASCAR’s former director of international broadcasting to run it.

The Los Angeles-based boxing company, owned in principal by Oscar De La Hoya, will work to secure international syndication for as many as 70 of the 90 fight cards that it will produce this year for telecast in the U.S. and Mexico.

Initially, the emphasis will be on syndicating Golden Boy programming that airs on Spanish-language TV in the U.S. to networks in Mexico and selling both U.S. and Mexican programming to networks throughout Latin America. But Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy, said he sees global potential, citing one-off distribution deals that U.S. promoters frequently land with a network in a boxer’s home country.

Golden Boy opted to place the department in its Ring TV subsidiary to make it easier to land business from other promoters with similar goals, Schaefer said.

The new department will be headed by Araceli Villegas, who spent the last seven years in international sales with NASCAR.

“You look at both sports and see the global passion for both motorsports and boxing,” Villegas said. “But where NASCAR continues to grow outside the U.S., boxing already has the existing international boxers that help build that bridge to the international broadcasters. This won’t be about introducing the sport. It will be letting them know Golden Boy is now available outside the U.S.”

Eventually, Golden Boy hopes to build out distribution in Europe and Asia as well, Schaefer said.
Rights fees to beam fights abroad likely will be relatively small, less than $20,000 for most shows, Schaefer conceded. The company hopes to counter that by selling in more countries, by expanding to target video-on-demand, broadband and IPTV, and by selling undercard fights that wouldn’t appeal to U.S. networks.

“I don’t know how much revenue it is, but it’s going to be more than nothing, which is basically what it is right now,” Schaefer said. “With 70 shows, if we can get an average of $50,000 worldwide per show, that’s $3 million to the bottom line. And we’re building the exposure of our fighters and the Golden Boy brand. That’s revenue potential that has been untapped and exposure potential that has been untapped.”

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