Interview With Fight Publicist Bob Trieger
by Pavel Yakovlev - While doing ringside coverage of a fight card in Boston last year, I had the good fortune to meet Bob Trieger, the internationally known boxing and MMA fight publicist guru. I was immediately struck by the wide range of industry knowledge possessed by Trieger: he was never at a loss for words in discussing any boxing related topic, including past and present promotional deals, fightersí personalities, boxing marketing and contractual related issues, and commentary about action inside the ring. To my amazement, he even knew minutiae about Boston area club fighters from past decades.
Article posted on 13.12.2009
As President of Full Court Press, Triegerís circle of clients is wide, and it includes such well-known organizations as Classic Entertainment and Sports, KZ Event Productions, Gotham Boxing, O'Shea Brothers Boxing Promotions, Richie Boy Promotions, Square Ring Promotions, New Era Fighting in MMA, Sovereign Nations Boxing Council and MMA and Integrated Sports Media..
Triegerís list of represented athletes is also impressive, featuring boxers John Ruiz, Jason Estrada, Matt Godfrey, Beibut Shumenov, James McGirt, Edwin Rodriguez, Joey Spina, Michael Oliveira, Matt Remillard and UFC fighter Joe Lauzon, among others.
Although operating chiefly out of Boston, New York City, and Providence, Trieger frequently works in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and anywhere else in the country where his clientsí events are staged. Recently Trieger did publicity work for a promotion in Kazakhstan.
Interestingly, Triegerís public relations work has long featured the use of mass email distributions. In this respect, Triegerís operations predate the appearance of Internet phenomena such as Twitter, which enables celebrities to communicate instantly and constantly with the public via the mass release of email updates.
In this interview with ESB, Trieger discusses his work and the role of public relations in professional boxing.
ESB: Where are you from, and what, generally speaking, is your background?
BT: Born in Dorchester and raised in the Fidelis Way projects in Brighton (both part of Boston). I started out as a sportswriter in 1968 and have written for a wide variety of newspapers and magazines ever since. I got into public relations in 1975 as a member of the staff at Wonderland Greyhound Park.
ESB: What got you started in the boxing industry, and what were your first functions (i.e., how did you move from fan to PR man, what was the developmental progression here)?
BT: We started hosting boxing matches at Wonderland in the early nineties to supplement revenue for a sport that was dying - dog racing. I'd always loved boxing, wrote a boxing column for a local paper and really got into the publicity end. I liked it and got lucky when I met a local amateur who changed my life, John Ruiz. That was 1992 and we've been together ever since, through thick and thin. Him becoming my client eventually opened up a lot of doors, especially after winning the world title.
ESB: I presume you have been a huge boxing fan from your early years. Do you have any memories of fights, fighters, or the boxing world that particularly made in impact on you early in life?
BT: Yes. I remember sitting in front of the television, black and white, I believe, with my dad watching the Friday Night Fights. The first fight that made an impact was Emile Griffith beating Benny "The Kid" Paret, who died from injuries suffered in that fight. That made a profound impact on me and to this day I've never forgotten how dangerous boxing is. It's also why I have so much respect for anybody who steps into the ring.
ESB: Did you ever meet the legendary boxing publicists John F.X. Condon and Irving Rudd? Do you have any comments on these personalities, both of whom have attained historical status within the sport?
BT: I don't have an answer for this question. I've heard of both, knew neither, and came up in publicity through greyhound racing. My "hero," publicity wise in boxing, is Bobby Goodman.
ESB: Youíve been in the industry a long time, so Iíll ask you about some other colorful personalities. Have you ever met the legendary matchmaker Johnny Bos...do you have any thoughts about Bos that I can share with the readers?
BT: One of a kind, for sure. I spent some time with him when Kevin McBride beat Mike Tyson. He's an encyclopedia of boxing, for sure.
ESB: Did you ever meet the legendary '70s underground reporter named Malcom "Flash" Gordon? If not, what are your impressions of this guy? Do you know what ever became of him?
BT: I never met him nor do I know what happened to him. His newsletter was incredible and I guess he's ahead of his time. I can't imagine what he'd be able to do today with the Internet.
ESB: Can you explain to the fans what exactly you do as a publicist? What are your different functions, and how does that help the fighter?
BT: I get publicity for my clients, whether itís a promoter's show or about individual fighters. I do a lot of advance work on PPV shows to push awareness and hopefully viewer buys. I write press releases, create press kits, pitch and schedule interviews and photo ops, etc. I also advise clients regarding the way they speak, dress, act, behave, etc. The better known a fighter is, I believe, the more opportunities for the fighter, which eventually translates into more money for everyone. Fighters are able to move up in ratings quicker if they're well known. Another important factor is helping to create an image for a fighter. The larger the fan following, the better for a wide variety of reasons, including revenue. As the end of a fighter's career approaches, I'll try and help him prepare for life after boxing, particularly if I think they have a future in broadcasting.
ESB: How has the Internet age changed boxing PR work?
BT: Like night and day. When I first started in public relations at Wonderland, we used a Teletype machine. Then, we advanced to fax machines and that's what I first used in boxing. We're able to do so much more now. The speed of distributing press releases, for example, allows me to write and research so much more. I can hit a single button and send to 800 solid boxing media contacts all over the world.
ESB: Have you ever functioned as an agent, helping to connect boxers to matchmakers so they can get a fight?
BT: No but once in a while I'll get a call about the availability of one of my clients. The Connections I've made over the year in this industry helps clients, whether they are looking for a promoter, manager, trainer, opponent, etc.
ESB: Have you ever helped fighter to find sponsorship (i.e., contracts with companies that promoter their product through a fighter)?
BT: No. I don't step over the line. That's the role of a manager and they often are the ones paying me on behalf of their fighter. It's very much a team effort with me playing a specific role as publicist. I have helped fighters get sponsors, for example, wearing a company's logo on their trunks, donning a cap with that logo, and making paid appearances.
ESB: In your opinion, what are the basic qualities, both athletically and in terms of marketability, that make a fighter eligible for sponsorship by a company?
BT: It's become increasingly difficult to get sponsorships for boxers simply because of the sport. It is still perceived as evil by some and others just don't want to be associated with such a hard, tough sport. The target for the sponsor usually is much younger than the average age of boxing fans, too. Top that off with a shrinking fan base, if for no other reason than age, and it's an uphill battle. If that's the case, I believe a fighter has to have "it," meaning a marketability combination of talent, looks, personality, speaking ability, and background. Different ethnic groups are passionate about their fighter and follow him through thick and thin. Another factor is a fighter who may be the son of a famous, beloved fighter, or a fighter who has served in the military.
ESB: Thanks for the interview, Bob.
BT: Thanks and happy holidays.
(Bob Trieger can be reached by fans and industry personnel at Full Court Press, 978.664.4482, [email protected])
previous article: Diaz Malignaggi II Full Undercard Report
next article: Victor Ortiz TKOs Antonio Diaz in Round 7
Boxing Forum | Boxing | Bet On This Fight | Back To Top