Dublin promoter puts forward terrestrial TV idea

DDP Sports’s Paul Keegan believes now is the ‘perfect time’ for boxing to make a return to TV.

The sport has been hit hard by the current pandemic and there are concerns with regard to moving forward, particularly with regard to the small hall scene.

However, Keegan, who promotes two weight world title challenger Dennis Hogan, seems to see spotlights at the end of the tunnel.

The Dubliner, who has promoted in Australia, believes the current climate lends itself perfectly for a behind closed doors television show.

With TV stations and indeed audiences missing sporting content, Keegan believes a studio show would be a big success.

Speaking on social media he said: “Surely a “behind closed doors” boxing show could happen in Ireland. 10 pro fights, small venue, no crowd and put on live tv. It could be the perfect time in the current climate and the TV figures would be off the charts.”

TG4 have shown an interest in boxing of late and have broadcast three shows over the last three years.

All three, Last Man Standing and shows topped by Ray Moylette and an Eric Donovan versus Stephen McAfee Irish title fight were rumoured to have pulled in over 250,000 viewers. Those numbers are particularly impressive when you consider Ireland’s decisive European qualifier with Denmark peaked at just over 450,000.

Both Boxing Ireland and more recently Ring Kings have revealed there remains interest from the stations with regard to airing the sport.

However, outside broadcast costs seem to be the stumbling block. To transmit from a location outside the studio is said to cost in the region of €70,000.

The behind closed doors and studio element would remove that cost. Expense would then revolve around fight purses and sanctioning fees – the recently spike in insurance may not be a factor for a behind closed door card.

Sponsorship and some money from any willing TV station may offset those remaining costs.

If you take current government guidelines any shows pre August may not be possible or would require the kind of plan Matchroom have in place for their July return.

That may mean hotel lockdown’s and testing, which might make any show unfeasible cost wise.

Plans for shows in Belfast in July, August and November as well as one in Waterford for September may limit the pool of fighters to pick from.

However, fighters and indeed their promoters may be attracted by the national television element and what that can do for a career.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]