LOS ANGELES, CA (July, 2007) In the last few months, due to my affiliation with touchgloves.com , I have been provided the opportunity to attend a few press conferences. Aside from the press conferences I have been fortunate enough to witness in person, I have seen many pictures and videos of other press conferences.
In the last few months, due to my affiliation with touchgloves.com , I have been provided the opportunity to attend a few press conferences. Aside from the press conferences I have been fortunate enough to witness in person, I have seen many pictures and videos of other press conferences. I have also heard from other colleagues of mine as they recount their experience at different fight press conferences. I have been to press conferences set up by many different promoters as well is in many different settings. I can come up with only one word to describe my experience and what I think of when I witness a press conference, they are a circus.
The press conferences still provide value. They provide the media an opportunity to ask questions as well as gather important photos and information to accurately cover the fight. They also provide a free lunch and usually a chance to get out of the office for the day. Fighters have an opportunity to interact with the media and those exchanges often make a broadcast, preview or recap better. The events provide promoters the opportunity to go into what I refer to as “used car salesman” mode. The promoter’s job is to make me a buy a fight that I may not initially want to purchase. The promoters have to go into hype mode because their job is to get the media excited about a fight so the media can share that excitement with their viewers or readers. They must sell all aspects of the fight, not just the main event, but the production, announcers, ring girls, and everything else that has importance on a fight night. The press conference, usually on a Wednesday or a Thursday before a fight, depending on the size of the event, is usually the last chance a promoter has to make the sale to the public. The press conference, to continue with my analogy, is the test drive. The test drive may be what makes or breaks a sale, it will either get a fan excited and interested or it will persuade the consumer to take a pass.
The promoters must spew as much positive energy and hype as they can. It is very similar to the test drive in which the salesman tells you all of the features of the car, but of course fails to mention the falling off bumper or the old peeling paint. Don King of course is the all-time leader in creating hype. Listening to Don King promote a fight you can’t help but get excited. King is an all-time master as he would tell you himself; “I’m a promoter of the people for the people and by the people and my magic lies in my people ties. I’m a promoter of America. I’m American people. You know what I mean? So therefore, uh, do not send for who the bell tolls ’cause the bell tolls for thee.”
It is great to hear a great promoter try and hype up the undercard guy as the next great thing. Every fighter at every press conference is the “next great fighter.” The promoters have to pay special attention to their main eventers but they would be very unwise to not use that public setting to introduce their newest sensation to the media. The guys starting a telecast may be headlining within a few years and the promoters always know that. The problem usually is, the promoters don’t know much better than the common fan as to which of those guys will be the big draws. So what do you do if you are a promoter, you hype everyone. You say that all fighters are the next big thing and hope some of them work out.
One interesting thing that I have recently learned about boxing press conferences and my reason for referring to them as a circus; is because absolutely anything is possible. Whether scripted to make Sportscenter, or obviously as fake an any WWE-event, there is no limit to what is possible when you put promoters, fighters, cameras and microphones together in one room. One thing is for sure, you can expect a free lunch, other than that when it comes to a press conference expect the unexpected, like Larry Merchant in a pose down with Paul Williams or anything else you may see at a circus.
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