NEW YORK (Oct. 31, 2005) – Executive Producer Jay Larkin announced today that SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, America’s No. 1 boxing network, has launched a new online feature entitled “Ask Al” where online participants at SHO.com will be able to pose boxing-related questions to be answered on-air by broadcasting legend Al Bernstein. This feature is the first in a series of online and interactive features that the network will roll out in 2006..
Bernstein, who is celebrating 25 years as a boxing announcer, will take his first questions on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2005, at 9 p.m. ET (delayed on the west coast) when SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING broadcasts a world title doubleheader LIVE from Caesars Tahoe in Lake Tahoe, Nev. In the main event, International Boxing Federation (IBF) Super Middleweight Champion Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy will face Scott “The Sandman” Pemberton. The co-feature will pit IBF Bantamweight Champion Rafael Marquez against No. 1 contender Silence Mabuza in a highly-anticipated match up.
The “Ask Al” feature will continue during all SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING broadcasts indefinitely. Other interactive and online features being planned for 2006 include podcasts of audio and video features during fight week; online voting for ‘best of,’ categories; LIVE streaming video of pre-fight and post-fight events (press conferences, official weigh-in, etc.); as well as LIVE streaming video of ringside components during bouts.
“Through our ‘Ask Al’ interactive segment, viewers to SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will now have the opportunity to interact directly with one of the most respected analysts in the fight game, allowing them to become a part of our boxing telecasts,” said Ken Hershman, General Manager of Showtime Sports & Event Programming. “And this is just one of many interactive features that we expect to roll out for future boxing events, all of which are being designed with one mission in mind–to make SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts the most enjoyable, immersive viewing experience for our boxing audience.”
Online participants are encouraged to post boxing-related questions at anytime, including during the LIVE telecasts, at www.Sho.com/AskAl. Then viewers can tune in to SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on the first Saturday of every month to see if their question has been selected. Producers will select several questions to be addressed by Bernstein throughout each show.
In nearly 20 years of broadcasting boxing, Showtime Networks has been THE innovator in premium network sports programming.
At the recent Corrales-Castillo II Pay-Per-View, SHOWTIME partnered with DirecTV to deliver the first Interactive TV (ITV) Boxing portal.
In 2004, SHOWTIME became the first network to begin regular telecasts of boxing in high-definition.
In 2002, SHOWTIME was the first to launch an Enhanced TV Boxing application in the United States, an Emmy Award Finalist.
In 1998, the network featured the first live webcast when Evander Holyfield defeated Vaughn Bean on Sept. 19 in Atlanta.
The following year, SHOWTIME broke new ground when it produced the first broadband pay-per-view of a live sporting event (Mike Tyson vs. Orlin Norris, October 1999). SHOWTIME provided online users access to five cameras and four audio feeds, essentially allowing fans to direct their own webcast.
In 1996, SHOWTIME was the initial boxing network to feature online scoring on its website.
About Al Bernstein
In May 2003, SHOWTIME signed long-time boxing broadcaster Bernstein to work alongside its blow-by-blow announcer, Steve Albert, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
Since manning the mike at SHOWTIME, Bernstein has provided commentary for 25 world championship contests, including one of boxing’s all-time greatest, the lightweight unification match-up between Jose Luis Castillo and Diego Corrales on May 7, 2005.
SHOWTIME has benefited greatly from Bernstein’s presence on the telecast.
“Without question, Bernstein is television’s pre-eminent boxing expert,” said David Dinkins Jr., who produces the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts. “He is a broadcaster without peer, and is to boxing what John Madden is to football – a rare talent who both informs and entertains. The addition of Bernstein to SHOWTIME has elevated the quality of our productions.”