Showtime this week will roll out the lion’s share of the nearly $80 million marketing and promotion campaign behind the Sept. 14 Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez pay-perview fight with an eye to attracting young men and women, network executive vice president Stephen Espinoza said.
Typically, big PPV boxing campaigns look to attract men 25-54, but Espinoza said the 36-year-old Mayweather’s enduring popularity with young, urban viewers 18-24, combined with the 23-year-old Alvarez’s appeal to women, prompted the premium programmer to tweak its marketing approach.
“Canelo’s a young fighter and has attracted a young fan base, while Mayweather’s fan base has remained remarkably young — he’s as relevant to 22-year-olds as he is people his own age,” Espinoza, who’s also the general manager of Showtime Sports, said. “Floyd has also overperformed among women than other boxers, and Canelo is a very good-looking, family-values guy that has done well with women in previous telecasts.
“Those two demos provide us with a higher performance ceiling for this fi ght than previous PPV events,” he added.
Along with attracting sponsors in traditional categories such as beer (Corona) and automotive (O’Reilly Auto Parts and Valvoline Motor Oil), Showtime has also tapped health and wellness company Nature Nutrition as a firsttime sponsor to appeal to a broader audience. Other nontraditional sponsors include the Mexican Tourism Board and Fred Loya Insurance.
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, the fight’s promotion company, said the event’s exposure on broadcast network CBS through promos during the network’s primetime, late-night and on-demand programming leading up to the fight will also reach younger women.
The Mayweather-Alvarez fight will also generate unprecedented marketing in movie theaters. More than 9,000 cinemas across the country have screened trailers for the fight since late July, according to Golden Boy. In addition, more than 540 theaters will air the fight live, although Espinoza doesn’t think the theater exhibitions will cannibalize PPV buys.
“A lot of that audience consists of people that were already out, so it’s an impulse purchase,” he said. “They were already looking for an experience out of the home, so it’s one of the rare occasions where we actually think its additive.”
He said he’s also not afraid that the unprecedented $64.95 price for the fi ght in standard defi nition — or $74.95 for HD — will scare off would-be buyers.
Showtime and Golden Boy executives also said the fight has drawn a near record promotional effort from operators, satellite distributors and telcos, including nearly $40 million worth of cross-channel commercial commitments and more than $14 million in traditional PPV marketing tactics, including direct mail and online initiatives.
Showtime will air Mayweather-Alvarez-themed content throughout the week on the flagship network as well as digital channel Showtime Extreme, Espinoza said. The network will also feature live coverage of the weigh-in on Sept. 13, followed by a four-hour block of past Mayweather and Alvarez fights, plus other related programming.
On fight day, Showtime will run a second four-hour programming block beginning at 4 p.m. that will include all four episodes of the network’s All Access: Mayweather vs. Canelo documentary series.
At 8 p.m., the network will air a one-hour Countdown Live special leading into the PPV telecast.
CBS Sports Network will more than 10 hours of Mayweather-Alvarez this week, including live coverage of the Sept. 11 final Mayweather-Alvarez press conference and the Sept. 13 weigh-in.
Espinoza would not predict how many buys the fight would generate, but said he’s confident the network has put forth the best fight card that has appeal to both avid boxing fans and casual fans.
“We do our best to put together a card top to bottom, and we believe that this is a can’t-miss event,” he said.
Showtime hopes to capitalize on the Mayweather-Alvarez PPV bout’s appeal with younger urban and female fight fans.