19.10.05 – Saturday’s highly anticipated rematch between The Contender season one champion Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora and runner-up Peter “The Pride of Providence” Manfredo, Jr. on ESPN was seen in more than 1.2 million homes making it the most-viewed boxing telecast on ESPN or ESPN2 since 1997 and the highest rated (1.4) since 1998. The main event including its three undercard bouts televised live from the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, helped attract the most Men 18-34 (2.2 rating) in more than a decade.
“Saturday night’s rating’s performance on ESPN represents a genuine interest by our viewers and boxing enthusiasts for The Contender storyline and high-level competition in general,” said Ron Semiao, senior vice president, ESPN Original Entertainment. “The Contender special delivered strong numbers in spite of the fact that we were delayed by an hour by college football.”
In front of a packed house of more than 10,000 fans, that included celebrities Ray Liotta, Don Cheadle, Jerry Bruckheimer, James Caan and Sylvester Stallone, Mora successfully defended his Contender crown in a closely scored (77-75) 8-round bout. Several re-airs of ESPN’s Contender boxing special can be seen this week including:
Date Time (ET) Network
Wednesday, Oct. 19 9 p.m. ESPN
Thursday, Oct. 20 3 a.m. ESPN
Thursday, Oct. 20 7:30 p.m. ESPN2
Click on this link for photos: http://www.media.espn.com/MediaZone/Contender_photos.htm
Presented by ESPN, Inc., Mark Burnett Productions and DreamWorks Television, this first-of-three scheduled fights will set the tone for the series’ second season to be aired in April 2006.
The Contender is an unscripted drama about the lives, fears and hopes of 16 professional boxers as they compete for the chance to change their lives and the lives of the people they love forever. The Contender will air under the ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) banner and be executive produced by Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice, Rock Star: INXS), Jeffrey Katzenberg and Sylvester Stallone.