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Pacquiao-Mosley Event Steps Into Digital Ring

5/03/2011 11:44 PM

Showtime and fight promotion company Top Rank are taking an unprecedented digital media approach to the marketing and distribution of Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight.

For the first time, cable operators will be able to offer a 1-day video on demand replay of the fight beginning Sunday at the same $54.95 suggested retail price of the live event, according to PPV event distributor In Demand.

Traditionally, the only opportunity to see a replay of a marquee PPV fight was to wait a week for the telecast to air on pay TV services HBO or Showtime.

Also for the first time operators will be able to offer via VOD 11 classic fights featuring the two main event combatants, including Pacquiao’s 2009 fights against Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto as well as Mosley’s conquests over Antonio Margarito in 2009 and Oscar De La Hoya in 2000. Also featured will be a same-day replay of Friday’s fighter weigh-in festivities.

In the past such memorable fight replays were mostly relegated to HBO or Showtime’s respective VOD channels prior to the PPV event.

The fight will also be the first major PPV boxing event to be streamed live online. Websites from Dish Network, Top Rank, Showtime Sports and Yahoo Sports will offer the event to anyone with a computer and a broadband connection for the same $54.95 retail price operators and satellite distributors are charging subscribers to watch it at home on large, HDTV screens.

Top Rank is hoping that the multi-feed online offering — which will allow boxing fans to watch the traditional PPV broadcast, the international telecast or from hand-held ringside cameras – will attract young sports fans that do much of their TV viewing from laptops.

What the online streaming of the fight won’t do is siphon off traditional TV PPV buys, according to Top Rank president Todd duBoef.

“I think we’ve seen other sports embrace digital distribution alongside the traditional telecast,” he said. “This works side by side with the traditional telecast — it’s part of the new media move that we all have to embrace.”

By tapping new media marketing and distribution opportunities, Showtime and Top Rank may be creating a future template for the PPV boxing category.

September