In a fantastic interview, The Ring's Lem Satterfield interviewed Stephen Espinoza the new general manager of Showtime sports. Stephen shared his vision for boxing on Showtime, specifically his vision for changing the views of boxing at Showtime.
"I think we as television producers are not doing a good job of televising our sport of boxing. Boxing, in my eyes, is the most exciting and enthralling live experience of any major sport. I would put it against any other sport -- from the World Series, to the Super Bowl, to anything else. Yet when we televise it, we're not doing a good job of conveying that excitement through to the viewer at home. So, what we, and, specifically, I want to do is to improve the viewer's experience so that it more closely matches what the experience and the emotion is in the arena. Because that ultimately is what separates this sport from others and makes it such a great, live experience. It's just competition in the purest form. It's two guys with very little equipment, standing in the ring alone with each other. One of them is going to come out on top. It's a combination of how we market the event and how we involve our viewers, and not least important, how we produce and televise it and how the media is actually consumed by our audience. For one, it starts with making people aware of this."
All of this sounds positive but if conveying excitement means rehiring Gus Johnson then this is just stupid. I hate Gus Johnson. He is terrible at announcing boxing and makes it physically painful to watch my favorite sport. It takes the talent of Gus Johnson to ruin something that is so inherently beautiful. Anyways I digress.
The interview continues to focus on the second fight between Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz. Showtime outbid HBO for this fight and they are going to give it the full treatment including Fight Camp 360.
"This is a fight that was important because I'm very confident that it's going to be compelling programming based on what a thrilling fight the first one was. But individually, these are guys that we want to be in business with. These are two young guys. Ortiz is personable and will sit there and talk to his fans and, perhaps more importantly, he will fight for every second of every round. Those are the kinds of people and the kinds of boxers we want to be in business with. The undefeated records really don't matter to me. At the end of this, ultimately, we're in the television business. So the ability to deliver a compelling and entertaining product is really the top goal. So I'm convinced that these guys are, together, capable of delivering that for us."
Again all of this sounds good but we'll have to see if this is actually a trend or just a flash in the pan. What do you think would be the most important change that Espinoza could make with Showtime's boxing programming?