Boxing is Run by Complete Idiots, Part 651,909
After getting sick of having everyone tell me that they couldn’t hear me on my aging cell phone, I finally decided to retire it and replace it with a new one Friday afternoon. The one I had, like Arturo Gatti, was once pretty good and very durable, but it had taken far too much punishment, and was now starting to bleed much too easily.
I went to my favorite T-Mobile store where I have purchased all my phones. I’m quite satisfied with the service, and having been involved in telephone company evaluations in another lifetime, that is quite an endorsement from me (make checks payable to “Eddie Goldman”).
A young man helped me make this cell phone transition, setting up the new phone and handling the paperwork, while we chatted. Judging from his name, he was of either Russian or Eastern European origin, although by his accent he had either been born in America or had moved here a long time ago.
After we had some techie talk about new cell phones coming soon like the Google phone (actually a phone running a Google-devised operating system) and similar stuff, he asked me if I had watched the soccer game yesterday. I said I hadn’t, and, in an instant, added that I watch boxing (interesting that this was my first reaction considering some other sports I cover).
He perked up and said he, too, likes boxing, and asked me whether I liked the heavyweights or the lightweights. I said these days the heavyweights were awful, and that Saturday there would be an interesting lightweight title fight between Manny Pacquiao and David Diaz.
Now one of his co-workers came over to join our little discussion, and he said he expects Pacquiao to win. So here, out of the blue, I had discovered two young, knowledgeable boxing fans.
Then I said to these obviously tech-savvy guys that while the fight was on pay-per-view, you could watch it for free online.
Now my helpful retail sales representative, as I believe they are called, smiled broadly, and nodded. He said he knows all about these sites, and implied that this was how he would watch this fight live.
So there it is once again. Boxing still has a lot more young fans than the ruling networks and promoters realize. These fans just aren’t coughing up 45 or 50 bucks a month to HBO pay-per-view when they can watch these same fights, and even more, for free through a site like SopCast.
When a sport’s business model is based upon relying on obsolete technology that has already been bypassed by new, user-friendly services available to almost anyone with a computer and a high-speed Internet connection, then it needs a major change.
But while I realized that I had to retire and replace my cell phone ASAP, how long will it be before the dinosaurs running this sport will come to a similar conclusion?