BET is taking on a new perspective and introducing “its first-ever rounds of professional boxing,” according to Billboard. The network told The Associated Press that they have partnered with Roc Nation Sports and will air up to nine live, two-hour telecasts over the next 18 months of boxing events.
The first event will include Roc Nation Sport’s very own WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Andre Ward, who will go up against World Title Challenger Paul Smith on June 20 at Oakland’s Oracle Arena. The event will include live performances and DJs.
“It’s more than just boxing, it’s more than a sporting event, and that’s why we went into it,” said Stephen G. Hill, BET’s President of Original Programming. “One of our goals is to approach the personalities of the fighters and the in-between-rounds of entertainment differently than it’s been approached on television before. The action will be the same, but we plan to get into the background of the boxers as well. Boxing has been a sport that’s most attractive to males, and if we can attract more males to the channel, that’s fantastic. But we can keep the women engaged with the human interest stories we put around the boxers.”
BET is hoping that by bringing its own brand of boxing, viewers will accept and appreciate the network’s introduction of boxing with open arms.
“We hope the numbers will show that viewers want more,” Hill said, “and once we find there’s an interest, we’ll pull this thread as far as it can go.”
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