I’ve found this poster at my gym. The year is 1953. Rocky Marciano and Roland LaStarza meet for the second time in their careers at the Polo Grounds in New York City, and the fight is historic. The whole of the United States follow every single one of the boxers’ movements closely, hooked by the show either in situ or at the movie theaters across the country, and Marciano wins the fight with the last agonic blows to a defeated LaStarza in the 11th round. The showdown, sponsored by Philip Morris, has one peculiarity: it is televised live on the big screens of over 30 cities from Chicago to Los Angeles, but not on TV or radio.

TV didn’t explode in the United States up until the 1960s, but for 1953 standards, not having your sport event aired on the radio was a huge deal. Exactly the same happens today with television: in the year 2020, no event that aims to have some relevance can afford to take such a risk as not signing a contract with a broadcaster. Even with the surge of the internet, a huge amount of people still get their entertainment in the form of TV content. It is estimated that as of 2015, 1.57 billion households around the world owned at least one TV set (with the US as the world leader in watching time). So this essentially means that if you didn’t get a deal to have your sport event televised, did it really happen?

The past 18th of July of 2020, the first boxing fight after the current coronavirus outbreak took place in Magdeburg, Germany, involved were heavyweight European Champion Agit Kabayel and heavyweight Junior World Champion Peter Kadiru. It was streamed live at sportschau.de and broadcasted on TV by MDR Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. The event was promoted by SES Boxing, with whom I work closely as a consultant for national and international media rights for all their boxing events since more than ten years. For security measures around COVID-19, the fight took place before a small audience of about a thousand people. Which leads us to think that in these new times of sports with no spectators, broadcasters will be the ones to save the day for the fans and businesses alike.