In order to maximize marketing and promotional opportunities for its boxing
events, Showtime said it will schedule its 2004 fight telecasts on the first
Saturday of each month.
Beginning Jan. 3, the network will air Showtime Championship Boxing according
to a scheduled monthly rotation, rather than on randomly selected dates.
Showtime sports and events programming senior vice president Jay Larkin said
the move will create appointment viewing for boxing fans, while allowing
Showtime to more effectively schedule movies and original programming around its
boxing shows, which draw some of the pay service's highest ratings.
'A predetermined monthly date enables us to handpick the most competitive
fights and promote them to the fans and our subscribers more aggressively,'
'It also allows us to be able to maximize awareness of some of our most
successful programming and put [them] into better lead-in and lead-out positions
from our boxing shows.'
The new strategy comes as Showtime completes most of its multifight deals
with fighters such as junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszu and former
heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
Going forward, Showtime won't enter long-term arrangements with either
promoters or fighters.
Larkin also said Showtime's pay-per-view boxing business and Showbox: The New
Generation - its twice-monthly Thursday night series featuring up and coming
fighters - won't be affected.