HBO Jabs at Young Men with New Series


New York -- Hoping to attract hard-to-reach young males to
boxing, Home Box Office has developed a new Saturday-afternoon boxing series that will
incorporate urban music and hard-hitting ring action.

KO Nation will debut May 6, and it will run six times
during the year, Time Warner Sports president and CEO Seth Abraham said at a press
conference here last Friday.

The shows will incorporate fights featuring up-and-coming
contenders, as well as hip-hop music and culture, complete with a disc jockey and dancers
performing before, between and after fights.

"This will not be your grandfather's Gillette
Friday Night Fights
show," Abraham said. "KO Nation was created
expressly to attract younger viewers to boxing and to develop the next generation of fight

HBO pointed out that the 15-to-35 male demographic
constitutes only 3 percent of boxing viewers, mainly because they're involved in
other activities during Friday and Saturday nights, when boxing events are usually

Abraham added, however, that the demographic group is
sports-minded: They make up the majority of attendees at live sports events, and they tend
to be the predominant viewers of sports such as football, baseball, basketball and golf.
But men 50 years and older make up the majority of boxing viewers and live fight

"We must reach out to the next generation of boxing
fans," he said. "Without young fans, boxing will wither."

The new series will be hosted by former MTV: Music
Television VJ Ed Lover, and it will feature analysis from former welterweight champion
Oscar De La Hoya.