Lem Satterfield

Espinoza talks about Time Warner-CBS/Showtime resolution

The money dispute between Time Warner cable and the CBS Corporation that had resulted in CBS and Showtime networks being pulled from cable systems in major U.S. cities last month was settled on Monday to the relief of many boxing fans.

Time Warner, the nation’s second largest cable provider, dropped CBS and Showtime networks in many key markets across the U.S. on Aug. 2, upsetting boxing fans in those areas who subscribe to Showtime for the boxing programming and also causing boxing industry insiders to wonder how the blackout would affect the marketing of the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez Showtime Pay-Per-View event on Sept. 14.

With an agreement reached for their new retransmission contract with Time Warner, CBS’ programming resumed at 6:00 p.m. ET on Monday in the affected markets.  

Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, the co-promoter of the Mayweather-Canelo card and the main supplier of boxing programming for Showtime, was pleased to hear the news.

“I am very happy that the dispute is settled and fight fans are able to see all the amazing shoulder programming leading up to ‘The One: Mayweather vs Canelo’ on Sept. 14,” Schaefer told RingTV.com. “Showtime, CBS and CBS Sports Network will have unprecedented content available. For those who have missed the first two episodes of All Access due to the Showtime black out, make sure you catch up. All episodes are available online on various platforms, including Showtime.com as well as on Showtime Anytime, the Showtime on demand platform.”

RingTV.com reached Stephen Espinoza, Showtime’s executive VP of sports and event programming, for his thoughts on the resulotion.

RingTV.com: Is this a timely resolution?

Stephen Espinoza: I’m sure that everyone involved would have preferred that this was resolved much quicker, so it is a relief for everyone to have it resolved for all sides.

With respect to the (Mayweather-Canelo) pay per view, in particular, I don’t see it having any significant negative effect on the promotion. The vast majority of our market takes place during the last two weeks of the event and we’re right on time with this.

So in terms of the bulk of our marketing strategy on television, that just really starts on Saturday, Aug. 31. So they have full carriage back coming up on Monday evening. We just missed a day or two of viewing. We’ve almost got a full two weeks to still promote the event.

RTV: What do you feel the overall effect of this is?

SE: We’re fortunate with this event that there was an incredible awareness in advance of this event, and an incredible amount of enthusiasm for the event.

For other events, maybe the last weeks or three weeks would have been more critical in terms of making people aware of the event, but people are aware of Mayweather versus Canelo. It’s the biggest boxing event in the last 15 or 20 years, so I don’t think that there was anything lost over the last two to three weeks. We’re still going to heavily market the event over the next two weeks.

I’m glad that CBS and Showtime, as well as the CBS Sports Network are going to be fully involved from today on forward. But I don’t think that much was lost during the span of the Time Warner blackout of CBS.

RingTV.com: What does it mean for the future?

SE: Well, I think that both sides got a deal that they can live with. It wasn’t an easy process, but it was a necessary process.

Now, not only do all of the NFL fans get CBS back for the regular season, but we’ve got all of the tools in the CBS arsenal to be able to promote this pay per view event for the next two weeks.

RTV: Were you involved in the process?

SE: Well, thankfully, at least for my sake, I was not on the front lines. I was getting regular updates from my colleagues, and I know that it has been a grueling process, but this is one battle that I’ve managed to stay clear of.

RTV: Is there anything else that you believe should be brought to light about this?

SE: Well, I think that the other thing – and I’m not sure what information is out there already or what announcement has been made – but this is effective immediately.

So we’re going to literally see that immediately, in the next few hours, CBS and Showtime should be back on all of the platforms this evening. So LA, New York and Dallas should be back with full carriage this evening.

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