Epix Punches Up Fight Content


Pay TV service Epix has quietly stepped into the boxing arena
over the past year, with a slate of mostly heavyweightchampionship
boxing telecasts, both on air and online,
that it hopes will build interest in the sport and the network
among young viewers.

The network has aired seven world championship
boxing events since the spring of 2011 featuring such
fighters as heavyweight champions Vitali and Wladimir
Klitschko, as well as light heavyweight and middleweight
fights. This past Saturday (July 14), the network
was scheduled to televise and live-stream the David
Haye-Dereck Chisora heavyweight clash.

Many of Epix’s fight telecasts — particularly
those featuring the Europe-based Klitschkos
— take place during the early-afternoon hours,
making them unappealing to other boxing-event
distributors, such as HBO and Showtime.

But Epix president Mark Greenberg said the fights
provide the network opportunity to offer live sports
programming to its audience, while giving hard-core
boxing fans a chance to watch these fights live on Saturday
afternoons rather than waiting for a tape-delayed
primetime telecast.

“The promoters can still do their big live gate overseas,
and we can deliver the fight to U.S. boxing fans,”
Greenberg said.

Epix also streamed the July 14 fight live via its viewerauthenticated
EpixHD.com website to provide
greater access for fans and to attract younger
viewers. Greenberg said the network’s boxing events
have drawn a cumulative 1 million live streams over
the past 15 months.

“Boxing has aged up, and mixed martial arts have replaced
boxing among young viewers,” he said.