By Boxing Insider Staff
Get ready for HBO Boxing’s new look. It’s coming at you on Saturday night, as Adrian Broner takes on Gavin Rees in a lightweight title bout. For all three of the network’s boxing “franchises” – Boxing After Dark, World Championship Boxing and HBO Pay Per View – the logos are going to be brand new, as will the graphics packages. It’s a makeover.
Beyond that we’re not sure what they are talking about, except integration into the HBO “brand.”
Ken Hershman, the president of HBO Sports, who used to be with Showtime, says he wants to create an “HBO environment” for viewers. Perhaps he can bring along some of the characters from “The Sopranos” or “Boardwalk Empire” into the picture.
Short of that, you can expect that graphics like the “Tale of the Tape” and “Compubox,” as well as the countdown clock, will appear a little different (in the words of the HBO people, “more streamlined”) and as far as they are saying, more vibrant. There will also be, in their words, some kind of integration into social media channels that hasn’t existed before.
Actually, one of the things that is of interest is footage that will cover some of the procedures the production team goes through when they are setting up for a show. That is maybe something that fans haven’t had an opportunity to see before.
HBO got its input from Troika, a New York-based brand consultancy and creative agency which is considered one of the best. As they say on their own website, “Founded in 2001, we partner with entertainment and sports media clients to provide unrivaled marketing support by linking brand strategy and creative execution.”
We’re sure it will look great, and that some of the fans will care.
The question is whether the fights are going to be aesthetically good.
Well, Broner is a bona fide rising star in boxing, with a little trace of Floyd Mayweather in him, and hopefully Gavin Rees, who opposes him on Saturday, will be able to force the fight well enough that it is competitive. In March HBO is going to have some interesting stuff. Bernard Hopkins may not always make for a pleasing fight, but at age 48 his quest to beat Father Time is always a good story, and he will take on undefeated but beatable Tavoris Cloud on March 9.
On March 16 there is the return of Timothy Bradley, who hasn’t fought since beating Manny Pacquiao. He’s going up against Ruslan Provodnikov, who’s got a 22-1 record but has plenty to prove to American audiences. Then on March 30 there is the rematch of the awesome fight that took place last October between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado. That was considered the best fight of the year by many of the people who saw it, so HBO has a natural hook to sell. On April 27, Sergio Martinez, the middleweight champion who is entertaining and also provides a good image for boxing, will be in action against undefeated Martin Murray.
It’s a new look, but there is also an old way to the hearts of boxing fans. When it comes down to it, competitive fights – attached to compelling stories – are the best kind of “look” one can give to a telecast.