At Mayweather-Pacquaio Fight, Advertisers Hope To Strike A Blow

When boxing fans shell out nearly $100 tonight to see the much-anticipated matchup between boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquaio, they will also bear witness to something else: advertising.

To be sure, a few ads typically appear in many pay-per-view boxing matches, but the Mayweather-Pacquaio represents a unique opportunity. A select group of marketers will pay more than $1 million each, according to a person familiar with the situation, to get their wares in front of a crowd that is expected to beat the record for viewers of a pay-per-view spectacle. In 2007, approximately 2.48 million video subscribers paid to watch Mayweather defeat Oscar de la Hoya.

“We have a level of interest and competition among brands we have not seen before,” acknowledged Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime’s sports and event programming, in an interview.

The telecast is a joint venture of CBS Corp.’s Showtime and Time Warner’s HBO.

Two movie studios are expected to promote three big films during the telecast. The Weinstein Company will tout “Southpaw,” a boxing film directed by Antoine Fuqua slated for release in July. And Viacom’s Paramout is gearing up to goose the next installment in its “Mission: Impossible” franchise as well as “Terminator: Genisys,” the person familiar with the matter said. The Mexican Tourism Board, Smart Communications of the Philippines and Tecate beer will also serve as sponsors of the event, said this person. All the marketers will pay what is estimated to be a total of between $11 million and $13 million.

Two of the movies will be promoted via traditional TV commercials, while all the sponsors will have logos and signage made a part of the ring, the weigh-in ceremony and other parts of the match. Viewers can expect to see logos from the sponsors appear on the ring mat during the broadcast, this person said.

The much-anticipated match-up comes as boxing is enjoying something of a resurgence on TV. CBS, NBC, Viacom’s Spike and Time Warner’s TruTV are all showing bouts with varying degrees of regularity.  Advertisers view the sport as a good way to reach “a loyal, urban” audience of Latino-American and African-Americans, Showtime’s Espinoza said.

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