Social media is fast-becoming a major player in the world of boxing. Sports fans are “cutting the cord” by eliminating costly cable and satellite services and switching to primarily and/or exclusively using their mobile devices from laptops to mobile phones to watch their favourite shows and sporting events. That fact alone makes it smart for the boxing world to step into the online world via social media where everyone is engaged nowadays.
How has social media been part of boxing evolution?
Spring of 2017 became the year when Twitter was used to distribute the live stream for the contender Petrov vs world titleholder Flanagan fight. This is the first time that boxing went live on social media and Banner Promotions was behind it.
The fight was televised from the United Kingdom through BoxNation, which is a subscription-based boxing channel. Frank Warren is a founder of BoxNation and held the broadcasting rights to the event. However, Artie Pelullo had the American rights for the broadcast.
Artie was unhappy with the television network monetary offer for televising the fight, so he took it to social media. He had already been looking for the right time to bring this kind of event to the social media arena, so he grabbed onto this opportunity and went with it. He decided not only was the time right but that a Twitter live feed could provide exclusive United States access to the main event.
Only three days before this sporting event was to take place, Twitter and Banner Promotions made their partnership known regarding the live streaming of the Petrov-Flanagan fight. The amazing thing about how fast this all came together is that it still drew a large audience.
Literally, hundreds of thousands of Twitter users tuned in to click the link to the live stream, which helped promote the broadcast. Viewers were given access to a simulcast of the BoxNation broadcast with a beautiful, crystal-clear live stream of the fight.
The COO at Twitter, Anthony Noto reported that Twitter was happy to be part of this first live stream of boxing. Not only did Twitter users/boxing fans gain access to the live stream, they could also join the live conversation on the social channel.
While the haste in which this live stream and collaboration didn’t bring a large pot of gold for Pelullo, he was delighted at the results. His goal was to provide a building block for monetizing his boxing events on social media, and he believes he achieved that first step.
Pelullo believes that the Internet is where the future of boxing promotions and events belongs. After all, Twitter did get more than 300,000 significant impressions (an analytic term) that night. He thinks that soon, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter will be more involved in sports, citing the fact that Amazon recently paid $50 million for the rights to Thursday night National Football League (NFL) games.
Artie Pelullo doesn’t expect to obtain a $50 million boxing contract just yet, but he does sincerely believe that boxing has found its home on social media and wants to expand on that in the coming years.
Pelullo says that boxing events will still be televised on TV, but social media will be added for a whole new audience in the world of boxing.