Watch HBO’s 24/7 Ward/Kovalev 2.
HBO’s 24/7 isn’t what it used to be. It used to be the best and most creative way to promote fights. It was timely and because it was timely, it made both the show and the fight it was promoting seem even more important.
But I think they spoiled viewers with it by doing it too often. When you have Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather as bigger than life personalities, you have magic. When you have lesser personalities, it doesn’t feel as genuine.
24/7 is by branding only these days. The build-up to Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev 2 isn’t 24/7. It’s a half hour promotional piece two weeks before the fight.
In order to get more bang for your buck with guys like Ward and Kovalev, I think the promotion has to be slightly different than what normally works. These are two of the best guys pound for pound; a point Jim Lampley tried to make during their first fight.
Thus, the normal fight hyping doesn’t really apply here. I think you have to make the hardcore fans believe this is the best fight out there and thus, when talking to their friends, it really does seem like it’s the best of the best. It’s one of those fights that people will feel like they’re missing out if they don’t watch. And I think that’s how it has to be promoted.
Rather than doing that, HBO’s strategy seemed to be their normal way of doing it which is to display each fighter’s chip on their shoulder, and have them pound their chest by talking about themselves. It’s really to neither guy’s strength. Sergey Kovalev looks out of place trying to talk about how much of a farce Ward’s victory was. He doesn’t wear petty well.
Andre also seems a bit out of sync trying to keep up with Kovalev. See for yourself. I may be the one who is out of touch. I just think that HBO has dropped the ball twice on the marketing of this fight.