A major change occurred in the boxing world recently with the announcement that international superstar Manny Pacquiao would be leaving HBO to fight on Showtime. Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, had grown disenchanted with HBO and what he perceived to be favoritism towards to rival promoter Golden Boy. Instead of operating on HBO’s terms, Arum decided to explore other options for airing the fight and he wound up finding a home with Showtime, which is owned by CBS. Though Pac-Man’s next fight is an uninspiring bout with Shane Mosley, but it will present new opportunities in terms of exposure.
Thomas Gerbasi’s detailed piece on Max Boxing outlines the entire story behind the move to Showtime. What struck me was the promotional package CBS and Showtime agreed to in order to land the fight. Check out this ridiculous list of items reportedly promised by CBS:
- - Advertising spots and live cutaways during the NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament and other CBS Sports programming in April and the first week of May
– A four-part countdown series, with either the first or last episode airing on CBS in prime time on a Saturday night
– Appearances for pay-per-view undercard fighters (such as Christy Martin) on CBS talk shows
– A May 1st 60 Minutes segment following up on the Pacquiao feature that aired last March
– Hosting the CBS Morning Show in Las Vegas on Monday through Friday of fight week.
I’m not sure they’ve thought of enough ways to promote this fight. Honestly, I don’t think God had more promises for Moses than that. If you thought TBS’ knock-you-over-the-head incessant pushing of Frank TV during the MLB playoffs was bad, get ready for some more. But the bottom line is that this was a brilliant move for Arum. He promotes the biggest name and most powerful figure in boxing (Mayweather could be here but he doesn’t fight), and he’s doing his share to grow his fighter’s popularity.
It was also ingenious for Showtime to use CBS as a powerful promotional vehicle in order to steal Pacquiao away from HBO. And by the way, when Showtime talked about having plenty of plans to grow their sports department in the future, they weren’t kidding.Google+