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The Business of Boxing

By David Finger

With ten days to go before the biggest PPV fight of the year, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and HBO Pay-Per-View Senior Vice President Mark Taffet held a international media conference call in New York City to “discuss the current state of the Mega-Fight” and the changes in how this fight has been marketed to the general population. Although there are few observers who feel that this fight will not be one of, if not the, biggest PPV fight of the year, there are still many critics who felt that the economic recession coupled with the emergence of Mixed Martial Arts would slowly, but surely take a toll on boxing and PPV revenue. But Schaefer and Taffet both discussed many of the new and innovative ways that they are marketing this fight to both the traditional boxing fan and the younger generation of boxing fan.

Schaefer took the stage first, discussing a promotion with Tecate Beer in which fans in select markets who order the fight can get $55 in rebates from Tecate (which can be used for Tecate Beer and groceries). With the fight costing less than $50, it seemed to be a highly effective way to entice fans; those of which who took advantage of the promotion would emerge with more in rebates than what the cost of the fight was. He also discussed the return of close circuit TV for this fight, with numerous movie theaters around the country purchasing this fight, as well as a discussion on the distribution of the official fight T-Shirt with Affliction, a company with strong ties to the younger market. Schaefer closed out his end of the discussion talking about the deal with Lodgenet, and how it appears that over 350,000 TV’s will be offering the PPV fight in hotels across the country.

From there Mark Taffet discussed the marketing on HBO leading up to the fight. He discussed the immensely popular 24-7 series which chronicled the fighters and their training as well as what he described as the “hunger to go younger”.

“We have explosive new digital platforms,” Taffet commented, “this is going to be the cornerstone of the new digital promotion. We are providing 24/7, 360 degree consumer surround sound. They will be surrounded by over 700,000,000 impressions. But not just marketing, but programming they will appreciate.”

When asked by reporters who called in what prompted them to implement these changes now Schaefer responded that many of these new and exciting changes and promotions were being worked on for some time, some of them as long as eighteen months, and that “now is the time to execute and make the world aware of them.”

Regardless of how successful the fight card may prove to be, and most insiders assume it will end up being highly successful, many in boxing will have a keen eye on the new changes that Golden Boy Promotions and HBO have implemented for the promotional side of this card and the changing face of the PPV fight card in the digital age.

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