Broadcast Conflicts
  
“Dad, can I have Coco Pops please and a drink.  Do you know where my tablet is?”.  Every.  Single.  Morning.  It’s the routine, my kids get up with barely enough time to prepare for school, sit with their breakfast and watch a YouTube video while the adults prepare for the working day.  Probably poor parenting, but in my day as an adolescent it was similar.  Similar, but not the same.  Instead of getting the tablet it would be the TV that was switched on. 
 
Herein lies the problem.  I’m 36 and was brought up to consume my media through the TV.  Sure, over time there have been advancements.  Streaming services, hundreds of Sky channels, IPTV, Smart TVs, Firesticks to name a few.  All of them have impacted in some way the use of a TV, but it is still that inanimate object that now for 90% of the day sits with a black screen in the living room.  It is only when the adults sit down that it comes to life. 
 
The second series World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) has been going on for a couple of weeks now, running shows out of Russia and Japan.  When it landed for series one it was a breath of fresh air.  World class, free-to-air boxing on terrestrial TV as ITV picked up the rights.  We could see the behemoths of the cruiserweight division punching holes in one another for free.  What wasn’t there to like?  Sure, the super middleweight tournament soured the taste by the end as seemingly low value fights (Groves vs Cox, Smith vs Holzken) landed on PPV but overall, the tournament scored well.
 
For series two there is no UK TV deal, but WBSS have had the forethought to make their shows available via YouTube live.  It’s a great touch, a platform that allows viewers to see their events free of charge.  But there is an issue here.  Age.
 
I think the WBSS have run two events so far.  It might be three. I could look it up but I shall use my ignorance as an example.  I simply haven’t watched any of it.  Not a minute, other than an Inoue highlight reel knockout via Twitter.  We are told that boxing is experiencing a boom and of sorts, that is true.  Domestically we have BT Sports and Sky Sports battling for supremacy both in their ‘free’ (subscription) content and in the PPV market.  Add in the somehow-still-kicking BoxNation as a provider, that’s three channels with relatively consistent Saturday night shows in the UK.  There are the part-timers too, your Channel 5 type stations that occasionally push content out.
 
In other words, when the boxing season is in full flow it is rare that a Saturday night passes by and there isn’t at least one traditional broadcaster providing boxing content in one form or another domestically.  Let’s be honest, for the vast majority of boxing fans (I include myself) we would rather watch domestic boxing/boxers than overseas aside from the very elite fighters.  On the whole (there are exceptions) I would rather watch a British title fight than a world title fight involving two boxers I may not be completely familiar with (go back to there being exceptions before chastising me here).
I’ll put that another way.  I would rather see my content through a traditional domestic broadcaster than I would watch YouTube.  I’m just that way inclined.  I realise the marketplace is shifting (DAZN and ESPN+ are prime examples) and by the time my children are older my views will be archaic, but while I can cling on to the remnants of traditional broadcasting I will be stuck in my dinosaur ways.  So will plenty of others.
 
Now, before anyone pulls me up on this, I KNOW I can get YouTube via the Firestick (well I think you can?), Smart TV, Xbox One, or you can plug a laptop through a HDMI cable.  I know those are all options.  But I don’t want them.  I am 36 years of age and have not once watched YouTube via my TV.  I might be in the minority, I’ve no idea.  I consume YouTube via my IPad or my phone, typically for interview type content that I can put on while doing something else.  Smaller screens, things that I can consume while doing the washing up and not have to give my concentration to 100%.  I have my viewing habits and like all other habits, I would need a very good reason to change them.
 
The WBSS right now isn’t that reason.  I don’t want to watch my boxing that way, and that is the way (rightly or wrongly) I have conditioned myself to use YouTube.  Maybe I should change.  Maybe I will change.  TV as a whole is changing and the chances are in 10 to 15 years’ time TV stations will be dead and buried, replaced by on demand streaming apps or something that hasn't been pushed to market yet.  However while the method I grew up with is alive and kicking, I will support it still. 
 
A ‘good reason to change’ will come about when Josh Taylor fights Ryan Martin on November 3rd in Glasgow (assuming no broadcast deal is struck by this date).  Whether it will be watching on the IPad or finding the route to having it on my TV I don’t know yet, but it will be viewed.  The problem is after that fight, my interest will likely stay in the domestic scene and back to standard TV.
 
This isn’t a whinge, or a complaint.  I appreciate the issue lies at my door and a solution is being provided free of charge.  I realise that the alternative is that the product potentially ends up on PPV platforms.  It’s probably more a plea from a traditionalist.  I’m not ready yet to convert.  Sure, there are millions younger than me that will be on board with this method of viewing the WBSS.  However, there are millions that aren’t. 
 
From a commercial point of view there must be an awful lot of money being left on the table here.  Putting it frankly, outside of those educated boxing fans, nobody has a fucking clue it is going on.  This on paper is the World Cup of boxing in the respective weight divisions, yet in the UK it is getting little-to-no coverage.  Find a TV channel, give it the exposure to a general sports fan that it deserves and presumably look to recoup some of the expenditure. 
 
A final point on this, going back to one of my first.  I haven’t watched a minute of WBSS season 2.  I could have.  I could have watched it live or found it on YouTube/DailyMotion the day after, but I just haven’t.  I have in that time watched plenty of other boxing content via my TV either live or retrospective.  I do not expect the WBSS to bend to my desires, but I do hope they understand that there will be others like myself that simply will find alternatives to watch.  Your product is good but isn’t unmissable until it involves boxers we don’t want to miss.