Showtime Bullish On Mayweather-Maidana Rematch

Showtime is betting that it’s Sept. 13 Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana pay-per-view boxing rematch provides a bigger PPV performance punch than its May 3 predecessor.

Saturday’s PPV fight – the fourth of Showtime’s six fight deal with the undefeated and pound-for-pound PPV king – is the first rematch for Mayweather’s during his PPV career. Showtime Sports executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza told Multichannel News that the competitive nature of the first fight -- which Mayweather won by decision in a very action-packed fight – will draw more viewers to Saturday’s rematch.

Espinoza would not reveal PPV buys for Mayweather-Maidana 1, but published reports put the total around 900,000 buys. Mayweather had generated more than 1 million buys in each of his last six fights before his May fight with Maidana.

“We finally found an opponent who really rose to the occasion and provided a real test for Mayweather,” Espinoza said. “There’s a group of fans who may have bypassed the first fight because they assumed Floyd would be as dominant as usual and who are now not going to miss the second one because of the element of risk. That’s not an element that’s often perceived in Mayweather fights because he is so skilled.”

Unlike the first fight where Showtime had to market the relatively unknown Maidana, Espinoza said Showtime is letting the action and competiveness of the first fight lead its marketing push to fight fans. He added the bulk of its marketing focus is focused on reaching casual and non-boxing fans who likely didn’t see the first fight.

The network has “doubled down” on digital content across all platforms, according to Espinoza. Showtime has aggressively posted short form clips on Instagram and Facebook, as well as streamed full episodes of its All Access documentary series the web. Espinoza also said the network is offering behind-the-scenes clips from both Mayweather and Maidana’s training camps in an effort to spur interest in the fight.

“We’re offering more [digital] content that we’ve ever done for any other fight,” Espinoza said.

The network is also leaning on sister broadcast network CBS to help market the fight. CBS has offered cross promotional spots on the NFL On CBS and on network-televised Southeastern Conference college football games, as well as CBS’ primetime and late night shows.

“That level of support is unprecedented in the recent past for boxing PPV’s,” said Espinoza. “The opportunity to get in front of millions of viewers at one time with our promotional content on CBS is a tremendous benefit to the event itself as well as for Floyd personally and the Showtime network.”

Mayweather’s flamboyant personality has also become part of the promotion, with the fighter using social media to market the fight. Espinoza said the fighter is the network’s secret promotional weapon.

“What we found from consumer research is that what people love about Mayweather fights is the spectacle … it’s the same reason why people who don’t watch football watch the Super Bowl and viewers who aren’t necessarily into award shows watch the Grammys,” Espinoza said. “Mayweather events are huge spectacles from the celebrity value to the circus-like [ring] entrances to the entire presentation of the event. For that reason it makes for a great collective viewing experience.”

Espinoza doesn’t believe that the fight will suffer heavily from an unusually busy 2014 PPV boxing schedule that has already produced five events, compared to only one PPV boxing event at this point last year.

“There is a little risk of consumer fatigue on the wallet, but as for the event itself it’s a very, very attractive fight,” He said.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.