(Above: Jim Lampley (left) and Ken Hershman give employees a one-two look at boxing HBO-style at Time Warner Center in New York.)
By Brooks Jewell
Employees literally had ring-side seats for a pull-no-punches conversation between Jim Lampley, host of HBO’s World Championship Boxing and Ken Hershman, President of HBO Sports, in the Time Warner Center Park Café, which was decorated to look like the real thing.
The two talked about the importance of HBO Boxing to the company’s diverse mix of programming and how the sport is uniquely suited for the pay-TV and pay-per-view models. Not only can sportscasters call it like they see it, without worrying about sensitive advertisers, but since fights are so unpredictable – sometimes ending in the first round – it’s almost impossible to build an ad-supported package around a boxing match; unlike a baseball game, where you know you’ll have at least two hours of air-time to fill.
Lampley also entertained the crowd of nearly 300 with stories of his days working at ABC Sports with the legendary Howard Cosell and anecdotes like the time a fighter poured a beer over his head in a restaurant after hearing about a comment he made on the air.
Following the talk, the two raffled off a pair of boxing gloves signed by Middleweight World Champion Miguel Coto; two signed (on the spot) by Lampley, and two tickets to an upcoming fight on June 14 at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn that will be broadcast on HBO Boxing After Dark.
For video and photo highlights, see below.