As if you already didn’t know, we’re counting down the top 15 combat sports moments of 2007. The entire list can be found here.
#6: The Game Changes
What: HBO Sports introduces 24/7 – a new (and very much improved) way of promoting fights
Where: Home Box Office
When: April 2007
Prior to this year, there had pretty much been a standard way of hyping a big fight: Produce a 30-to-60 minute special highlighting the strengths, the trials and the tribulations of the participants involved and – voila – you’ve got yourself a cookie cutter “Countdown to (enter two fighters names here)” show. But HBO Sports (full disclosure: I used to work for them but left the network almost three years ago) officially blew that formula up and, boy, do they deserve a whole lot of credit for their efforts.
Simply put, HBO Sports’ introduction of De La Hoya-Mayweather 24/7 may have been the most revolutionary promotional tool to hit the combat sports world since the invention of pay-per-view. No one had EVER rolled out anything like this before. A four-part reality series following both fighters as they prepare for their bout? Tremendous television. And this wasn’t a show shot six months prior to the showdown. Oh no, the content of each episode (save for the main interviews involving the fighters and trainers) was shot in the week leading up to the airing of that particular episode. Revolutionary, indeed. And if anyone is wondering why or how DLH-PBF generated 2.4 million pay-per-view buys (a record), the main reason has to be the impact of 24/7.
HBO followed De La Hoya-Mayweather 24/7 with Mayweather-Hatton 24/7. While the sequel didn’t generate the same kind of PPV buys as the original (850,000 domestically) here’s hoping more 24/7‘s are green light next year and that the UFC and Spike decide to produce the same kind of shows. However, something tells me that the UFC will never be able to fully duplicate the magic of HBO Sports’ 24/7. There’s a reason why they’re the undisputed king of combat sports and just in case anyone began to doubt their top spot on the totem poll, 24/7 once again cemented it.
HBO Sports Presents An Exclusive Four-Episode Countdown Series [Pound4Pound]
The Best Damn Sports Show, Period [Slate]
Hatton Joins Mayweather For HBO Sports’ ’24/7′ Sequel [USA Today]