“I’m sure I’m going to be asked many, many more times,” he said, chuckling. “I know it’s an unfortunate situation and somewhat confusing but we just hope we’ll get through it quickly so that no more programming gets impacted.”
This short interview was conducted during the undercard this past weekend at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, where Showtime aired a doubleheader featuring Abner Mares (who was upset by Jhonny Gonzalez) and Leo Santa Cruz. On this night, Time Warner Cable subscribers were blacked out from this event along with the premiere episode of “All Access” for Alvarez-Mayweather.
“The One,” as it’s been dubbed, is being counted on to do huge numbers, somewhere in the two million-buy range, meaning every single buy has to be extracted from those who are just casual observers of the sport. The question is, just how much will this dispute affect the bottom line? It’s hard to really quantify the effect of this deadlock but you can assume it certainly isn’t going to help boost sales. Nowadays, using a synergistic approach utilizing all media platforms is vital to promoting and marketing these events. The two biggest being CBS and Showtime, currently unavailable to segments of the population.
“It’s potentially an issue,” admitted Espinoza, “although our programming strategy with respect to ‘All Access’ in particular is unique. Back in May, we made the decision to make ‘All Access’ available everywhere. All four episodes are available on YouTube, SHO.com, everywhere. So you didn’t need to be a subscriber to view that. So we’re continuing the strategy because, again, the best promotional tool for the fight, it just happens to at least aid in getting that programming out in context of that Time Warner dispute. But we’d be doing it anyways because it’s our strategy. We want as many people as possible to see the ‘All Access’ show.”
OK, but when will Time Warner Cable subscribers (of which I’m one) get to see CBS programming?
“It’s really hard to say because everyone I’ve talked to that’s been involved has been surprised it’s lasted this long. So we’re sort of in uncharted territory. It’s tough to say. There’s smart guys on both sides. I see both perspectives. I just hope they’ll resolve it soon,” said Espinoza.
(It says here that once you get past Labor Day and the NFL season starts up, along with the SEC football package, this is when things will get serious between both sides. Yeah, it’s one thing to miss reruns and exhibition games but it’s totally another to miss the opening weekend of the NFL and Alabama-Texas A&M and the season premiere of “The Big Bang Theory.”)
Regardless, this event will do well. It’s the most anticipated boxing promotion of the year pitting the game’s biggest star against a young Mexican icon. Coming down the home stretch, fans will see an unprecedented promotional push going into September 14th.
Espinoza explained, “We’ve had some ads already on CBS, last night’s pre-season football game, tonight’s pre-season football game. Those are pushing people to ‘All Access’ and we’ll see those sprinkle through the CBS Sports schedule moving forward and there’s a lot else. CBS Radio, there’s over 150 sports stations that are going to be regularly supporting it. So it’s not just the network. It’s CBS Outdoors; it’s the CBS Radio Network. People tend to focus on the CBS network because it is the number one network but there’s a lot more to the CBS Corporation than the television network.”
The premiere episode for “All Access: Mayweather-Alvarez” had 225,000 viewers (according to Nielsen Media Research) this past weekend. By comparison, the debut of “24/7” on HBO for Mayweather’s bout against Oscar De la Hoya (the fight this promotion is most being compared to in terms of financial expectations) premiered at 1.4 viewers.
But again, it has to be pointed out: Time Warner Cable subscribers are blacked out from Showtime currently. And this “All Access” was replayed on Univision, CBS Sports Network and various internet platforms like SHO.com. Also, Mayweather-De la Hoya was the premiere edition of this genre and it had “The Sopranos” and “Entourage” as its lead-ins.
More current editions of “24/7” now debut at around the 400-500,000-viewer range.
Also, HBO does have more subscribers (HBO is said to have between 28-30 million to Showtime’s 21-23 million, depending on which media report you believe).
So take these figures with a grain of salt and put them in whatever context you want.
SPORTS ON EARTH
Here’s my latest contribution to SportsOnEarth.com on Larry Merchant:
I’m just a web writer but it’s my humble opinion that perhaps someone should advise Ward to hold off making any public comments (whether they’re in formal interviews or on Twitter) before a fight is set for him. The bottom line is he keeps burying himself and comes off more and more unlikeable as time goes by.
What I found interesting was this interview he did with FightHype (http://fighthype.com/news/article14969.html), where he stated his manager, James Prince had contacted Edwin Rodriguez’s promoter, Lou DiBella with an offer.
Uh, yeah, OK, but why is a manager making contact with another promoter? Isn’t that the job of Dan Goossen (Ward’s promoter since the beginning of his pro career)? Or has Goossen - who Ward tried to leave this summer before the California commission upheld their contract - been told to stay in his lane?