Showtime Sports Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza is very pleased with the way the sport is growing in the New York market.
Espinoza talked with Fightful.com at the Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia press conference in New York City and said the fight is expected to break several Barclays Center records.
When comparing this fight to the Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs fight at Madison Square Garden on March 18, Espinoza said the could handle two major boxing events in such a short time.
"They're both very big main events," Espinoza said. "They're different types of cards. I think the strength of this card is a little bit stronger from top to bottom. But the good thing is that this a healthy market for boxing. This fight is on pace to break the [attendance] record for boxing at the Barclays Center. I understand they're doing pretty well at Madison Square Garden. We got two great, competitive main events. We got a market that can support these two fights in a two-week span."
The sport had been shifting its eyes to New York for the past couple of years, with the Badou Jack vs. James DeGale bout this past January drawing more than 10,000 fans to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Espinoza acknowledge that it is a bit tough to book boxing events in New York, but believes the city is seeing a resurgence in the sport within the city.
"Geographic diversity is important," Espinoza said. "We can emphasize New York and being in Southern California, being in Las Vegas, being in Texas with the big Hispanic market, and being in all different types of markets is good for the sport. There was a bit of a dry period [in New York] for a variety of reasons. Madison Square Garden is one of the busiest venues in the world, plus with all the hockey and basketball, and even Barclays is busy. But I think we're in a bit of a revival here in New York."
Fightful will have complete coverage of Thurman vs. Garcia on March 4 live from the Barclays Center including a live viewing party of the whole card. The fight will be televised on CBS and will unify Thurman’s WBA “super” welterweight belt and Garcia’s WBC belt.