Showtime will buck pay-per-view boxing tradition and start its Sept. 13 Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana 2 fight at 8 p.m. on the East Coast instead of the usual 9 p.m. premiere, said network officials.
Network officials are hoping that the 8 p.m. start time will increase buys for the event by ending the event earlier for viewers in the Eastern and Central time zones who make up nearly 80% of the U.S. viewing population. Traditionally, the main event bout of a four-fight boxing card begins around midnight on the East Coast. Showtime said it wanted to make sure East Coast viewers didn't have to stay up past midnight to watch the main part of the event.
Showtime has not released buys for the first Mayweather-Maidana fight on May 3, but industry sources say it failed to hit the PPV gold standard of 1 millon buys. Mayweather won a competitve 12-round decision over Maidana.
“Pay-per-view boxing events have changed, and we think it’s time the scheduling changed too,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Showtime Sports in a statement. “Along with our partners at Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions, we have been presenting compelling four-fight cards with multiple 12-round world championship bouts. As a result, we’ve seen the start of the main event coming later and later into the night which is not an ideal viewing experience for viewers in the Eastern and Central time zones. No other major sport makes a significant portion of their audiences wait until well past midnight for the peak of the event. Showtime PPV will no longer be one of the exceptions.”