Yahoo! to Stream Live Bouts Before ‘Contender’ Finale

Yahoo is trying to draw at-work boxing enthusiasts into the ring for an afternoon of live, Web-only bouts sponsored by Toyota and Intel.

In an extension of its deal with Mark Burnett’s “The Contender,” which airs on NBC, Yahoo will host two exclusive bouts between contestants chosen by fans of the show. The fights will be streamed live from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm Eastern Standard Time on May 24, a Tuesday. Later that night, the “Contender” season finale will take place at the same venue and be broadcast in its entirety on NBC.

Yahoo’s regular “Contender” sponsors, Toyota and Intel, are the featured brands during the May 24th bouts. The companies will get play in a combination of pre-roll video and banner placements on the official site.

“The Internet is the television for the workplace,” said Jim Moloshok, Yahoo’s senior VP of entertainment and content acquisition. “The nice thing about an event like this one is that we’re able to reach people during what is primetime for broadband use. From an advertiser’s perspective, it’s a great time to reach them, because they’re about to leave work and go to happy hour or to the grocery store.”

Yahoo is calling the afternoon matches “Fan Favorite” bouts. During the two weeks leading up to the finale, viewers can go to the show’s official site on Yahoo and vote for eliminated contestants who they would most like to see fight again.

Yahoo and MSN appear to be engaging in a bit of oneupsmanship in their respective deals with Mark Burnett’s reality television machine. Two weeks ago, the Microsoft portal signed a deal to host show and advertiser content from the upcoming “Rock Star INXS.” Additionally, both Yahoo and MSN have both discussed ambitions to stream more live events.

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