CBS, NBC Bring Boxing Back To Broadcast TV; Golden Boy Lets Fans Attend CBS Fights Free
CBS’ broadcast of the Leo Santa Cruz-Alberto Guevara bantamweight fight on Saturday at the L.A. Sports Arena marks “boxing’s return to network television,” as it is “the first time boxing has been on the network in more than 15 years,” according to Lance Pugmire of the L.A. TIMES. Fight promoter Golden Boy Productions will “allow fans in the Sports Arena for free” for the Santa Cruz-Guevara fight and an earlier fight featuring U.S. Olympic team member Joseph Diaz Jr., and it also is “allowing fans to donate a toy valued at more than $20 to receive two free tickets to the nighttime broadcast” of Amir Khan-Carlos Molina on Showtime (LATIMES.com, 12/10). ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael noted the CBS broadcast “will use Showtime’s announcers.” In addition, fans who “present ticket stubs from the CBS event when purchasing tickets for the Showtime card will receive a 20 percent discount on tickets purchased” (ESPN.com, 12/11). Showtime Sports Exec VP & GM Stephen Espinoza said of the CBS match, “This is a little experiment.” USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand notes Showtime “reaches about 22 million households and will have shown 27 boxing events this year.” Meanwhile, NBC will broadcast an event on Dec. 22 featuring heavyweights Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham, marking that net's "first boxing since 2004.” NBC Sports Group President of Programming Jon Miller said that NBC Sports Net had “six boxing events this year.” Miller said an event on NBC “was the right way to play it out.” He added that “whether that leads to more broadcast network exposure ... might depend on promoters” (USA TODAY, 12/12).