Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Boxing [Print without images]

Friday, November 30, 2012
Manny Pacquiao to train in Times Sq. Friday

By Michael Woods

Hordes of tourists will be in Times Square Friday, snapping up $5 pashminas, street artist caricatures, and tons of other trinkets and foodstuffs while soaking in the hubbub.

At 5:30 PM, if they look up at the NASDAQ building while munching their street meat delicacy, on a seven-story screen, they will see Manny Pacquiao in training. This training session will also stream on TopRank.com, InsideHBOBoxing.com and other big-league outlets.

Top Rank exec Todd duBoef drove this endeavor to help get the word out on Pacquiao's fourth scrap against his rival for the ages, Juan Manuel Marquez, which unfolds on Dec. 8 in Las Vegas.

duBoef, based in Vegas, later discussed how the plan came together, why he put it together, and why such marketing is important to the sport's health and well-being.

"For about a year, I wanted to give the consumer the "fly on the wall" perspective of a real training session with Manny or any fighter right before a fight," duBoef told ESPNNewYork.com. "It is not to be a highly produced piece but one that is authentic. Once I could execute this plan, I looked at different platforms that I could send the signal through and capture the general audience engagement.  RED Interactive ( my digital agency) came to me with some very creative "non conventional" ideas and one was a board in Times Square. I loved the idea, but I didn’t like a one-board concept because I believe it had to be a much bigger statement there because the space is very crowded with advertising.  So I suggested we take over the NASDAQ building and they loved the suggestion. They were able to secure the NASDAQ and Reuters buildings for an aggressive two week campaign.

"This is truly an attempt to engage and expose the boxing product to the most  general audience. So far I love the feedback…and hope it works," duBoef said.

How can it not? Not sure how much the marketing costs, but the sport being off free TV for so long has meant that they've lost out on maybe millions of casual fans.

A certain number of folks will be entranced by the image of seven-stories high Pacquiao.

Bravo, I say, to duBoef for thinking big, and current, and on the horizon. The sport has been marketed in a stodgy manner in the last few years, so here's hoping we see more of this bold thinking for Top Rank, and all the promoters.