Apologies for the awful pun. Seeing as sport is probably my greatest passion I decided this time to blog about the use of PR in boxing. PR is prominent in all sports however boxing really utilises it to full effect.
When you think of boxing many iconic images spring to mind such as Muhammed Ali looming victoriously over Sonny Liston.
But how does boxing use PR to promote fights? Not every boxer can command the audiences that Ali did (it is reported that his final fight v Larry Holmes had over 2 billion viewers worldwide, making it one of the most watched TV events of all time).
Quite simply what boxing does to a greater effect than perhaps any other sport is it generates hype. The sport generates a serious amount of revenue through pay per view audiences. 4.3 million customers bought access to the bout between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor grossing over $600 million. To sell these fights they rely on press junkets which essentially are PR campaigns.
The promoters create a narrative of animosity between the two fighters which escalates throughout the junkets. For instance at the post fight press conference between Dereck Chisora and Vitali Klitschko, David Haye turned up resulting in a massive brawl between himself and Chisora, shown here. Surprise surprise, Haye was then announced as Chisora’s next opponent. They had already created a narrative of hatred between each other and a demand within the public to see the fight. The insults and threats continued throughout the press tour and eventually Haye defeated Chisora. Yet after the match they both appeared respectful to each other, one gracious in victory and the other accepting in defeat. Not really the actions of two fighters that hate each other is it?
The fight ultimately became known as “The sham in West ham“, audiences eventually saw through the PR money making stunt. However it did make money becoming TV channel Boxnation’s highest viewed fight at the time. At a cost of £10 per view you can understand why they wanted to generate the hype.
So now to link this back to genuine, effective PR advice. Basically hype sells. Whether it be to market a new product such as trainers or to promote a new band. If you get people talking about something then there will soon be a demand for it. Increasingly more so in the modern era of social media. News travels fast.
Tactics such as giving stores limited stock of your product ensuring they sell out on release day, for example will create positive free press “…sells out after one day”. This creates buzz which is an invaluable tool. Other ideas such as getting social media influencers to promote something online can be very beneficial in generating hype.
You have to make it believable though, consumers are smarter now than ever before, we see through fake rivalry. We know when someone is trying to sell us something.
So be smart and utilise hype for a knock-out PR campaign.