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Bob Arum on TALKBOX Talks Up Move To The Future, Away From Pay Cablers

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The man turns 86 in December but he is still eyes wide open and on top of what’s trending and what the next smartest move is.

Bob Arum, the Brooklyn born dealmaker who was headed for a career in law when the boxing bug bit him in the mid 1960s, told Everlast’s TALKBOX how his muti year deal with ESPN, which will have 18 Top Rank shows run on The World Wide Leader in year one of the deal, was hatched with an eye toward current market forces.

Boxing has been skewing old, in its fanbase, he explained, because the top practioners have been doing their thing on pay cable outlets. Young folks aren’t so keen to be wired up, and pay that monthly fee; they are more a la carte consumers. “Younger people either can’t afford it, or don’t want to spend the money,” Arum told me, especially since an HBO or a Showtime is predominately offering other-than-boxing fare, so these a la carte sorts don’t want to pay for what they might not be using. “Now, when it’s on ESPN, it’s free to people, it’s on their cable or satellite package, so you get many more younger people.”

Also, as we move ahead, and there is more cord cutting, that ESPN fare will be bought by more people as a standalone option, so the ones that don’t have a cable/satellite package won’t be left out.

Arum noted that when ESPN showed the last Vasyl Lomachenko fight, up against a UFC event, the boxing had more 18-49 viewers than did the MMA event. Yes, MMA, which is supposed to have a lock on the younger demo. “It was apples to apples, free television to free television…we do very well when it comes to younger people, particularly of a diversified nature. Our Hispanic audience is much bigger than UFC, and our African American audience is bigger.

He pointed out that Terence Crawford, an African American kid in the midwest, did versus 1.3 million, plus half a million stream viewers and bar and restaurant traffic. “The audience was huge, as it was for Pacquiao-Horn,” he told me, and so it isn’t closed off, versus an HBO or Showtime tango, which will not, for instance, screen at a bar, by and large.

Here more from The Bobfather right here.

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About Michael Woods

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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