Until Premier Boxing Champions began signing network TV deals a few years ago, boxing had been restricted to HBO, Showtime and occasionally ESPN. PBC has had primetime boxing cards on NBC and most recently CBS. Its Saturday primetime card on CBS scored for the network and beat the other broadcast fare including ABC’s NBA presentation of the LA Clippers at Chicago.
The overnight raging for the world welterweight unification title bout between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia which resulted in a split decision for Thurman, registered a 2.2 on CBS.
ABC trailed not just in the overall number, but also in the all-important 18-49 demographic and viewership.
This marked the second primetime Premier Boxing Champions presentation on CBS, the previous one aired in June of last year. That card averaged an 1.8 rating. Both PBC cards were produced by CBS’ cable partner Showtime.
For years, the broadcast networks didn’t touch boxing and let the pay cable networks produce and promote fights. It had been a regular staple on broadcast TV from the 1950’s into the 1980’s, but as HBO and Showtime gained subscribers and prominence, the two cable networks basically took over in televising fights.
But now fans will point to CBS’ numbers stating that if there’s an attractive fight, boxing can attract an audience on broadcast television. And if PBC can put together good cards and compelling matchups, the numbers could remain consistent.
Premier Boxing Champions has contracts with three of the four broadcast networks, CBS, Fox/FS1 and NBC/NBCSN, and has deals with Bounce TV, ESPN and Spike and has plans for an extensive schedule in 2017.