Fight Night In The Age Of Social Media

It is fight night tonight. Back when I was in high school in college, in the days of Tyson and Holyfield, boxing occasionally surfaced as a big deal. Nintendo’s “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out” became an instant classic video game. In those days, the fights were all Pay Per View broadcast (PPV) and on ESPN they’d show still pictures of the fight during or right after. It would take a long time for the news to trickle out. It was big money for the casinos and PPV, and there were only two ways to access the show: pay for PPV or show up with tickets.

Fast-forward to today, to tonight, hours away from one of the most highly anticipated boxing matches in recent memory. Lately, boxing hasn’t had the cache it use to have in the days of Tyson, and certainly in the hey day of Ali, Frasier, Liston. It’s been replaced with new sports, like MMA, or Ultimate Fighting. Nevertheless, the old is on display tonight, with two great fighters already set with fame and legend (and money) battling for pride. And, as we fast-forward to today, 2015, tonight’s boxing match, but the world is different now — mainly, because of mobile and social media. Consider the following:

  1. Live Streaming via mobile & social networks: Will someone at the fight tonight try to live broadcast the event from their phones through Periscope or Meerkat? Will those people be allowed to do so, or escorted from the building?
  2. Mayweather’s sordid past: This week saw a surge of reports surfacing to mainstream media but really amplified on social media — all about Mayweather’s disgusting regard outside the ring. Boxing’s a violent sport, and Tyson was beaten up by the media during his reign, but maybe this will tip the scales over to promoters and boxing associations being more careful.
  3. Gambling: Boxing is big business for bookey’s, of course. In the days of Tyson, had to call in bets via telephone or show up at the book. Now, it’s text, apps, FaceTime, messenger apps…bigger audience, more gambling, and more interest overall.