The Future is Now: Golden Boy Promotions partners with Facebook
On Monday, Golden Boy Promotions announced a partnership with Facebook/Facebook Watch to broadcast free, live fight cards, beginning on August 11, at the Avalon, in Hollywood, California, where Joseph Diaz Jr. will face fellow featherweight Jesus Rojas. The following week, light heavyweight title challenger Sullivan Barrera will headline a card at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which will be promoted by Main Events, who is part of this deal.
Welcome to boxing in 2018, when the sport is now a fixture on over-the-top (OTT) platforms and promoters are no longer beholden to begging for dates from television networks. This continues a trend which sees Top Rank utilizing ESPN+ and Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn with DAZN (both paid subscription entities).
As George Allen once said, the future is now.
“It’s the future. It’s the future of the sport. It’s the future of television. More and more people are starting to go with digital platforms and we’ve been talking to Facebook for awhile now,” said the President of Golden Boy Promotions Eric Gomez, a few hours after this deal was unveiled. “We’re very excited about doing this deal with Facebook. They’ve been very successful with what they’ve done with MLB (Major League Baseball) and they wanted to try boxing.
“So we’ve been talking to them for awhile and we closed the deal with them and we’re hoping to make them a big player in the sport.”
Traditional television is still a major component in televising sports but there is more and more cord-cutting taking place, as the years go on. The reality is, if a modern boxing promotional firm isn’t creating its own platform or partnering up with one, there’s risk to become obsolete. In recent years Golden Boy had streamed its cards, from the Belasco Theater, on RingTV.com, and Thompson Boxing Promotions and 360 Promotions have taken steps of streaming their shows for the worldwide audience.
Companies like FightNightLive.com and GoFightLive.tv have streamed numerous shows throughout the country.
Tuesday afternoon Facebook streamed the video press conference between WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez for a worldwide audience. Boxcaster Boxing, a growing YouTube channel, is broadcasting this Saturday’s WBA cruiserweight title bout between Beibut Shumenov and Hizni Altunkaya in the United States and Canada. The World Boxing Super Series streamed its cruiserweight and super middleweight tournament fights on its website, in America, in lieu of a television deal. (Its upcoming season has been picked up by DAZN.)
Something which used to be so underground (Justin.tv!) is now mainstream.
Showtime utilized its Facebook page and YouTube channel to showcase international bouts on Saturday afternoon. As for HBO, well…it still doesn’t stream its cards and risks becoming Blockbuster Video…
Speaking of HBO, currently GBP is its main content provider and Alvarez is the centerpiece of that relationship. However it’s not clear if the network has a real, long-term commitment to its boxing franchise. While it’s still a strong distributor of major pay-per-view events, its broadcasts are few and far between nowadays. May 12 was its most recent telecast and there won’t be another one till July 21. For years, while Showtime has had “ShoBox” to develop prospects, HBO has no such series and will only broadcast the rare HBO Latino card.
Golden Boy is facing the stark reality that soon ESPN could be the exclusive domain of Top Rank, yet GBP will still have the need to still nurture its next generation of boxers beyond “Canelo.” The days of “Friday Night Fights” on ESPN and USA’s “Tuesday Night Fights” are long gone.
It’s very simple: Adapt or die. This business moves forward, one way or the other.
“It’s the beginning; there’s opportunities to extend it more,” said Gomez of this deal that will also include shoulder programming related to boxing, “but this is new for them getting into boxing. It’s going to be important to put on some really good fights and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to put on some great fights, and, if everything pans out, we’re going to continue and do a lot more.”
The press release announced there will be five dates and Gomez notes those cards will “happen all this year. It’s now and it’s fast. We want to continue it; if you want to build a following, you have to have consistency and that’s something that’s important to them.”
THOMPSON BOXING PROMOTIONS
Speaking of Thompson Boxing, here’s a YouTube link to its card, last Saturday night, in Sacramento, for anyone who missed it or, quite frankly, fell asleep. (Yeah, it was a long and late show). Featherweight hopeful Ruben Villa looked very good in closing out Ricardo “Not Finito” Lopez in six rounds:
On this Fourth of July edition of “The 3 Knockdown Rule,” Mario Lopez and I talk about the Alex Saucedo-Leonardo Zappavigna battle and our choices for the “Fight of the Half-Year” for 2018.
According to Gomez, money has arrived and WBA “regular” welterweight titlist Lucas Matthysse and company are now on their way to face Manny Pacquiao, on July 14, in Malaysia…Top Rank won the purse bid for the WBO 135-pound title fight between beltholder Ray Beltran and Roman Andreev. This fight will take place on August 25, in Arizona…Looks like undefeated featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson ran into some trouble in Miami celebrating his 21st birthday. (They grow up so fast.)…HBO’s “Succession” just keeps getting better and better…It’s an interesting group of free agents that the Lakers are signing to surround LeBron James; I’ll say that much…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.