Keith Thurman’s 8th round TKO victory over Luis Collazo under performed ratings wise. Per Sports TV ratings, the bout did a .3 on Saturday night for the debut of PBC on ESPN, only averaging 799,000 viewers.
Per Dan Rafael, he is reporting that PBC on ESPN peaked at about 1.1 million viewers, which is up 110% from the what the normal ESPN Friday Night Fight Series viewership, which was roughly over 400,000 viewers.
The number is low and no way to cut it for an even on prime time on ESPN. Boxing is still a niche sport so to expect it to balloon right to three or four million views in one installment is also being naïve.
Haymon paid roughly over two million dollars for the event this past weekend. Compared to the last time ESPN had boxing on prime time on Saturday, the results from the Stiverne-Arreola rematch drew an average of 940,000 viewers, but the price wasn’t as steep as two million dollars for the bout.
There was competition from NASCAR and the UFC prelims, which did much better than boxing on the night.
So what does this all mean? In terms of boxing numbers, it isn’t a bad number. When you compare the bout to HBO and Showtime boxing numbers, it’s right around the norm. However, if we’re comparing it with free TV or spots that ESPN would show in the same time slot, the numbers are not up to par.
Thurman’s first fight on the PBC network averaged 3.4 million. Yes, the bout was on NBC, but that’s a significant drop down from the gate. If Haymon wants to brand PBC as a league using counter promotions across the networks, then it’s certainly not good. If you compare to what the NFL does and how it broadcasts around NBC, CBS, NBC, and ESPN, rating numbers are comparable to one another; same with the NBA, NHL, and MLB.
Could this be a good foundation moving forward? Perhaps. The next test will come August 1st when Danny Garcia takes on Paulie Malignaggi, another main event not received well by the boxing public much like Thurman-Collazo.
Garcia and Malignaggi have pulled good numbers in their Showtime days as main event fighter, so we shall see the result August 1st.