When in the States last year different people asked me what it was in the UK that they were doing superior to promote boxing compared to that in the US. Despite being from Ireland, I thought I had one or two logical answers at least.
Since last summer US boxing has actually come on leaps and bounds it must be noted.
But the UK still seems like the new global capital for boxing on the whole when comparing the amount of big fights being put on there to the US, as the main criteria.
There were a couple of things that sprung to mind straight off the bat by the above question.
Firstly in-venue experience and atmosphere. UK fans typically have a pretty good time at boxing shows and they attend them as a “night out”. So to speak.
Sometimes at a US boxing event the atmosphere might not be as lively. Perhaps it’s the culture though. The States is a totally different ball game.
The thing I personally like about America anyway is this diverse culture. There’s literally every type of culture you can imagine there.
This can bring about a more diverse fan base at boxing events.
I did point out to one American chap however that there’s plenty of people passionate about boxing in the US too and that in my view, it was just a case of bringing out this passion and fun a bit more to the forefront at (some) American boxing events and above all, putting on the fights fans want to see.
The other thing that came to mind for me for some reason was Manchester’s boxer Ricky Hatton. No, not his epic fan base. Something else.
How his story was told in the beginning of his career had me pondering a couple of things.
Hatton was able to get his fights shown early on in his pro career by broadcast juggernaut Sky Sports – master marketers in the sports world.
Early on they introduced the UK and Irish public to what kind of person Hatton was outside of the ring with weekly TV magazine shows.
Showing him in his local pub playing darts, attending Manchester city soccer games and just in general, being your average Joe.
Hatton could have been any other young man making his way in the world.
This sincerity and genuineness resonated with the British (and Irish) boxing community and developed a massive fan base. Early on.
By the time Hatton became world champion everyone already knew who he was. Bingo.
It seems like folks in the US like HBO, Showtime and ESPN typically only did this type of television content for already established stars in the past.
But the above Hatton example was done early on.
There’s no reason any American TV network in conjunction with working closely with a boxing promoter cannot do this for up and coming fighters based in America too.
They have the same access to technology and distribution as the UK. If not more so.