HBO Sports is stepping into the social networking ring to promote its May 1 Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Shane Mosely pay-per-view boxing event.
Among the marketing tactics the network is using to promote the welterweight championship fight -- which is themed "Who R U Picking" -- is a heavy video and information presence on social networking services Facebook and Twitter, according to network officials. For the first time the network is offering visual clips from media press conferences and fighter workouts on Facebook so fans can get a behind-the-scenes look at the event.
In addition, soundbites from media conference calls have also been pushed out to fight fans and followers via Twitter and Facebook, as well as through the fight's dedicated website. HBO Sports vice president and general manager Tammy Ross said the social networking efforts allow HBO to talk directly to fans rather than relying on traditional television and radio media to get the word out about the event. "We can talk directly to our potential customers," Ross told Multichannel News.
The whorupicking.com microsite also includes up to the minute Twitter feeds from fight fans as well as information on the fighters, how to purchase the fight, and other ways to see the event. HBO has also devised a "Who R U Picking" digital poll encouraging fans to choose the fight's winner and has purchased digital media on entertainment, urban, Hispanic and sports sites to promote the interactive poll, according to Ross.
"[The microsite] is an interactive vehicle to engage fans and have them come back regularly for new information," she said.
The network has also drawn several sponsors for the event, including hardware company Dewalt Tools, which has built fight promotional displays in Home Depot locations around the country; Mexican imported beer brand Tecate, which is offering on specially marked packaging a rebate to PPV fight buyers; and telco AT&T, which is running television spots via its U-Verse TV service, according to Ross.
Mayweather-Mosley is the second big PPV event for HBO Sports this year, but industry observers believe the fight could be the first 1 million buy PPV boxing event of the year. HBO Sport's March 13 Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey fight drew 700,000 buys, according to the network.