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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Themes from HBO in upcoming Pacquiao-Clottey show

HBO Sports will feature a pre-fight show "Road to Dallas: Pacquiao vs Clottey" on Saturday, March 6th. The network will showcase a thirty-minute special on the first-ever pro boxing event at the $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Marketing Agenda >

It appears that HBO is saving its budget for the popular four part series 24 / 7 for the Floyd Mayweather, Jr vs Shane Mosley fight set for May 1st in Las Vegas.

The extra pre-fight publicity for that means probably means Mayweather vs Mosley will outsell Pacquiao-Clottey in pay-per-view (PPV) numbers.

HBO benefits from PPV sales, and pre-fight shows not only analyze and preview an upcoming bout, they should first be taken as a marketing and promotional tool designed to make the public interested in a fight.

The 24 / 7 shows have a slant and agenda, and will not be a purely balanced exercise.

A powerful tool in television, the internet, and media advertising is suggestive marketing. You gather several experts on a topic, and you infuse your message in a non-advertising way so that the audience can receive that message in a more neutral, less defensive manner.

Themes >

In the 24 / 7 series covering Pacquiao vs Miguel Cotto, the suggestive, implied agenda was to plant a seed of doubt in the public's mind - that then-welterweight champ Cotto posed a serious threat to the Filipino phenom. This despite that Pacquiao was a significant favorite amongst odds-makers and betting circles.

HBO got the public to perceive Pacquiao as a distracted fighter, that his camp was in shambles, that his training in the Philippines would bring fight night disaster. That Cotto was more focused than the Filipino, that Cotto's team unity would somehow affect the outcome. To ignore the large betting odds favoring Pacquiao.

The public bought the message, and it drove up PPV sales. Just business.

There are several themes that can be employed to effect the same type of interest:

  1. Play up the international aspect as an intriguing component of the fight. That includes educating the sports public about Joshua Clottey's background as a fighter, and about his native Ghana.
  2. Recall the sports biggest upset in history: Mike Tyson vs Buster Douglas which happened 20 years ago. The suggestive message would be that like Tyson, Pacquiao is vulnerable to an upset by the little known Clottey. Draw up parallels between both fights.
  3. Emphasize Manny's status as a sports and celebrity superstar, and how distractions and multitudes of non-boxing activities can tug at a fighter left and right. This focus can thus be contrasted to Clottey's single-minded obsession with winning the upcoming March 13th bout.
  4. Peer over the horizon to a potential Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather, Jr showdown as one of the biggest fights in the history of boxing. That would highlight the importance of the outcome of the Pacquiao-Clottey fight, and also provide an advertising plug for Floyd's fight with Shane Mosley on the same network.
  5. Feature Pacquiao's political ambitions in the Philippines, which might hint that the Filipino might be over-looking this fight.

You don't make money by selling a one-sided fight, even though odds-makers and the casinos have Pacquiao as a huge favorite over Clottey. Under current odds, bet $500 on Manny, and you will make $100 if he wins. Those are the realities of probabilities.

Since that would be bad business for HBO, which is experiencing the pangs of a recessionary economy, look for themes that plant a seed of doubt. This is about generating sales from interest. Look for suggestive themes as a means to that end.

Author: Marv Dumon

Source: examiner.com

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