Top Rank Boxing on ESPN (2/15) outshines Bellator on Friday night

February 19, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN on February 15th drew 704,000 viewers per Nielsen according to ShowBuzz Daily.  The event featured Rob Brant as he scored an 11th round KO over the previously undefeated Khasan Bayasangurov.

The telecast peaked at 769,000 viewers and was likely aided by the lead-in of the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

Live Boxing on ESPN 2019

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN (2/2):  880,000 viewers

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN (2/10):  655,000 viewers

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN (2/15) 704,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

As we noted with the Bellator post, the ratings for Top Rank on ESPN Friday night well-exceeded its MMA competition on the Paramount Network.  As stated, the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game helped as a lead-in.  Of course, being on the main ESPN network also helps with just many having the network on as habit.

Fury signs with Top Rank putting Wilder rematch in doubt

February 18, 2019

Undefeated lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has inked a co-promotional deal with Top Rank which will allow him to appear on the ESPN network. The question becomes what will happen to a much-anticipated rematch with Premier Boxing Champions and World Boxing Council champion Deontay Wilder.

The Fury-Wilder rematch was reportedly close to fruition, but with the new wrinkle of Fury signing with a rival promotion and network, the fight may be on hold.  The December 1, 2018 fight between Wilder and Fury occurred on Showtime Boxing’s PPV.

The news now has put a damper on the possible rematch with Deontay Wilder which ended in a draw.  The fight was highlighted by Fury going down to a vicious shot from Wilder in the final round only for him to rise from the blow to finish the round.

Payout Perspective:

Fury’s signing is another indicator of the splintering of combat sports.  Unless the sides can agree to a deal to pit the top two heavyweights in boxing, the sport will once again fall victim to promoters carving out their territory.  Can the sides come to a deal?  Of course, but it undoubtedly puts the rematch on the back burner.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN (2/10) draws 655,000 viewers

February 12, 2019

The ESPN airing of Top Rank Boxing on Sunday night drew 655,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.   The event drew 233,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and drew a 0.44 share.

The event featured Jose Ramirez taking on Jose Zepeda with Ramirez winning and retaining his junior welterweight title via majority decision.

The telecast also featured an action-packed fight between Ray Beltran and Kiroki Okada with Beltran earning the ninth-round stoppage.

Payout Perspective:

The telecast was below average for viewership and vastly smaller than the UFC one day before.  With UFC airing this Sunday you might expect a big number but when boxing does return to TV on Sunday night’s it will be interesting to track.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN (2/2) draws 880,000 viewers

February 5, 2019

Top Rank Boxing airing on ESPN Saturday night drew 880,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event, which included preliminary bouts to the main event of Sergey Kovalev and Eleider Alvarez, peaked at 1.022 million viewers.

On the network telecast Oscar Valdez defeated Carmine Tommasone via 7th round stoppage.  The opening bout featured Richard Comney defeating Isa Chaniev in just two rounds.

The event was bifurcated as the UFC’s debut on ESPN+ was split with prelims on the digital platform followed by the network portion followed by the main event airing once again on ESPN+.

As reported by Boxing Scene, ESPN Deportes averaged 122,000 viewers for the two-fight telecast as it peaked with 169,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Near 1 million viewers tuned in Saturday night for two prelim fights on ESPN.  The bookending of the card seems to be aiding its digital platform despite the gamble of confusing the viewer. The move for ESPN to air more combat sports will see an adjustment for the traditional sports viewer but its clear that there is an audience that wants to watch

Lomachenko fight draws over 2M viewers on ESPN Saturday night

December 11, 2018

The Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jose Pedraza fight on ESPN on Saturday night drew 1.865 million viewers on the network for its two-hour broadcast which was preceded by the Heisman Trophy telecast.

The lead-in likely helped the Top Rank Boxing ratings but Lomachenko is becoming destiny television for many fans.  The event drew 0.63 in the A18-49 demo per ShowBuzz Daily.  The fight alone during the telecast drew 2,013,000 viewers and peaked at 2,100,000 per Nielsen.

Its the second-most viewed fight on ESPN this year after Terrence Crawford’s win over Jose Benavidez this past October.

The Heisman Trophy Presentation on ESPN drew 2.928 million viewers and came on a night of a UFC PPV, HBO Boxing and the replay of Fury-Wilder on Showtime.

Lomachenko’s last fight on ESPN this past May against Jorge Linares drew slightly over 1 million viewers.

He drew 1.73M viewers last December for his win over Guillermo Rigondeux.

Payout Perspective:

Lomachenko was put in this same timeslot in 2017 after the Heisman Trophy Presentation and did better this time around.  It could be that more fans are aware of Lomachenko and used to Top Rank on ESPN that improved the ratings.  But, viewers are definitely gravitating toward Lomachenko as the ratings dipped after the Heisman telecast and then rose again when Lomachenko was about to fight.  We shall see what he does next as his next anticipated fight looks to be in April.

Top Rank Boxing on Friday night draws 950,000 on ESPN

November 19, 2018

Top Rank Boxing on Friday night drew 950,000 viewers per Nieslen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The telecast saw Maurice Hooker TKO Alex Saucedo in the seventh round of their title fight.

It was an exciting fight as Hooker went down in the second round of the fight versus the previously unbeaten Saucedo.  Hooker retained his junior welterweight title from the previously undefeated Saucedo.

NBA Basketball was the lead-in for Top Rank Boxing as the Milwaukee Bucks faced the Chicago Bulls.  The game drew 1.7million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Impressive for Top Rank following the NBA on ESPN.  The telecast started close to 9pm PT and still retained a significant amount of NBA viewers.  Hooker and Saucedo are not household names but the ratings are promising for future telecasts.

ESPN Top Rank Boxing reports strongest telecast of 2018

October 16, 2018

ESPN Top Rank Boxing on Saturday night drew 2.245 million viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily. The event was the highest-rated live boxing telecast of 2018.

Ring.tv reports that the peak of the telecast drew 2.7 million viewers.  The main event saw Terrence Crawford put away Jose Benavidez, Jr. in the 12th and final round of their fight.

It drew 1.038 million viewers in the A18-49 demo according to Nielsen.

The ratings reflect the highest rating for an ESPN Top Rank Boxing telecast since Manny Pacquiao took on Jeff Horn in the first telecast of the partnership.

Payout Perspective:

This is good news for boxing and boxing fans as we have seen an expansion of boxing viewership.  While HBO has foreclosed its time in the sport, PBC on Fox, Top Rank on ESPN and now DAZN’s latest coup of signing on Canelo Alvarez for his next fight this December shows that the sport continues to grow.  With these latest ratings, we will see if Terence Crawford can make the next step in his career: pay-per-view star.

Crawford-Benavidez fight draws big ratings on ESPN

October 15, 2018

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew a 1.6 metered market rating according to Nielsen which made it the highest-rated boxing telecast in 2018.  The main event which featured Terence Crawford scoring a 12th round KO of Jose Benavidez averaged a 1.8 metered market rating.

The main event was the highest-rated Top Rank bout and main event on ESPN.  The event took place in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.  The main event between the two unbeatens was heated as Crawford took a swing at Benavidez at the weigh-ins.

In the co-main event, Shakur Stevenson defeated Viorel Simion via TKO in the first round.  The event drew a metered 1.3 rating according to Nielsen.

Payout Perspective:

The telecast was the second-highest rated Top Rank event on ESPN to the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight which kicked off the Top Rank-ESPN partnership. The event went up against Bellator on Paramount and though we will not get the overall ratings until later on Monday, boxing beat MMA on Saturday night.  The question becomes whether Crawford can draw on PPV and outside of Omaha.

HBO leaving boxing busines

September 27, 2018

The NY Times reports that HBO is leaving the boxing business after 45 years in the business.  HBO’s vice president of sports, Peter Nelson, made the announcement to HBO Boxing production staff Thursday morning.

According to the NY Times, Jim Lampley will remain on with HBO while Max Kellerman, Harold Lederman, Andre Ward and Roy Jones, Jr. will depart the network.  Nelson indicated that based on audience research, boxing was no longer a factor when subscribing to HBO.

The competition for boxing on television has increased in recent years.  Most recently DAZN launched its over the top platform this past Saturday with Anthony Joshua fighting Alexander Povetkin.  The company has signed a stable of boxers to fill its platform with content in addition to select Bellator MMA events and Combate Americas.  ESPN signed a deal with Top Rank which cut out a big piece of HBO’s roster of boxers.  Top Rank is now on ESPN and ESPN+.  Despite questions regarding its controversial business strategy, PBC has signed a lucrative deal with Fox to air its event on the network.

Payout Perspective:

The decline in viewership for boxing events on HBO and the increased competition was likely the nail in the coffin for boxing on the network.  There have been many memorable moments on HBO and it will be a shame to see it go.  But the reality is that the competition from other forces which center on combat sports and the network’s commitment to other areas of programming meant that this business decision was reasonable and probably best for the company.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN draws 662,000 viewers

September 17, 2018

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Friday night drew 662,000 viewers and a 0.22 rating in the A18-49 demo per Nielsen.  The event took place the night before the big GGG-Canelo Alvarez fight.

The main event of the ESPN telecast saw Jose Ramirez defeat Antonio Orozco via unanimous decision in a matchup of super lightweights.  The event took place at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California.

This summer’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Ratings:

September 15 – 662,000 viewers

August 18 – 686,000 viewers

July 14 – 518,000 viewers

July 7 – 534,000 viewers

June 30 – 632,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

The event is slightly less than last month although it was the second-highest TR on ESPN telecast this summer. The telecast served more as a reminder to the casual viewers of the big PPV event Saturday.  It also gave boxing fans a little action before the main event the next day.

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