Earlier this week, as the Boston Celtics bounced back from a 2-0 Eastern Conference Finals series disadvantage against the Miami Heat to take a 2-3 lead, some boxing media began to note that a potential game 7 between the two teams would take place on Saturday night. Saturday being, of course, the same night as Manny Pacquiao's HBO pay-per-view bout with Timothy Bradley.
As the Heat dismantled the Celtics to force game 7, my immediate thought was that the situation would result in fewer people buying the pay-per-view. This was despite the fact that I had no real concerns about the game being done in time for the main event fighters to step into the ring. I simply imagined some people would choose to set aside their night for the basketball game, not really giving the idea of dropping money on a boxing show "just to have something to watch" when there's a major NBA event for free the same nig
Still, Top Rank (promoter of the fight) CEO Bob Arum immediately began to let media know that "the main event won't start until after the game ended."
A few points on this:
- Boxing pay-per-view main events don't see the fighters step into the ring until midnight Eastern Time anyway. With the NBA game tipping off at 8:30, there isn't really much danger of the game running into the main event unless it goes to double overtime. There are three undercard fights scheduled for the broadcast before Manny and Tim step through the ropes for their battle.
- The bigger issue is that you can't order a PPV 2-3 hours after it starts. So what time the main event starts isn't really the issue, it's making sure people remember to hit the order button for the boxing event prior to watching the basketball game.
- HBO can't sit and kill too much time waiting for the game to end should it go much longer than expected. You have to purchase blocks of time on pay-per-view and if they wait too long they run the risk of the time block ending and the show being cut off during the main event. This has happened in the past with infamous incidents like WCW's Halloween Havok 1998 event that cut out during the main event as well as UFC 7 and a small group of other shows. Honestly, at that point anyone who bought the show...well, they already bought the show. Waiting for them to tune back in and having a big chunk of dead air would be a little bit silly.
Regardless, you can go into tomorrow night knowing that it's almost certain that you'll be able to watch both game 7 and the main event without any issues.