By Rick Reeno
Stephen Espinoza, the executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, is very pleased with the ratings that were generated by the first episode of Mayweather-Canelo All Access, the behind the scenes reality show being used to promote next month's mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
A combined 530,000 viewers watched the show on Saturday night. Espinoza explains that Saturday's number is a combined figure of the airings which Showtime televised before and after the championship card featuring Abner Mares vs. Jhonny Gonzalez, and several delayed broadcasts of All Access which aired in select markets.
The figure does not include the broadcast of All Access which Univision aired on Saturday night or the show's premier on Sunday on CBS Sports. The DVR numbers are also not included in that overall figure as they haven't been made available yet.
"We did well over half a million viewers on the premier night, 530,000 to be exact - and that's a number that we're very happy with. And that number doesn't include the viewers that saw it on Univision later on that night or watched it on CBS Sports Network the following day, or the people who viewed it online. We have a [business strategy] that is very different from our competitors. We are happy to share our show across multiple outlets," Espinoza told BoxingScene.com.
Espinoza is not worried about the ongoing dispute between Time Warner Cable and CBS, the parent company of Showtime. For the last few weeks, CBS and Time Warner Cable have been arguing over rights fees. As a result, Time Warner has blacked out CBS, Showtime and any affiliated stations until the two sides reach an agreement.
"Regardless of any CBS/Time Warner dispute, we are confident that everybody in every market had a chance to see it - whether it was on the Showtime website or our Youtube channel or CBS Sports Network or Univision, or many of the other outlets. In general, the fact that half a million people watched it on the premier night is something that we're very pleased with," Espinoza said.
Espinoza makes it clear that his focus, when it comes to the All Access series, is not centered around the ratings. His desired goal is to have as many fans watch the All Access series, regardless of the platform, prior to the Mayweather-Canelo Showtime pay-per-view on September 14th from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"For us, quite honestly we don't pay that much attention to the viewer numbers [for All Access]. The viewer numbers are irrelevant. We don't care if someone doesn't watch it the very first night, we just want people to watch the show before the pay-per-view because it's going to make the viewing of the pay-per-view that much more enjoyable - and for those people who may be on the fence, we hope the show will give them a good reason to go out there and buy the pay-per-view," Espinoza said.