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.

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.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN draws 686,000 viewers

August 21, 2018

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 686,000 Saturday night on the network which improved on the three prior cards on ESPN.

According to Nielsen (via ShowBuzz Daily), the 110 minute event drew 0.20 in the A18-49 demo.  The event saw Bryant Jennings win via 9th round TKO  over Alexander Dimitrenko.  In the opener of the doubleheader, Jesse Hart earned a 3rd round TKO victory over Mike Gavronski.

This summer’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Ratings:

August 18 – 686,000 viewers

July 14 – 518,000 viewers

July 7 – 534,000 viewers

June 30 – 632,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are either an anomaly or a sign that boxing fans are getting used to boxing on ESPN.  The ratings are far from what the network has received earlier this year and in 2017 but with the many up and coming fighters that most casual fans do not know, the ratings are pretty good.

ESPN and Top Rank Boxing extend media deal

August 3, 2018

ESPN and Top Rank have extended their agreement through 2025 which will have 54 boxing events across ESPN outlets.

According to multiple reports, shoulder programming was key to the extension which started last summer.  The hope was that the additional should programming would help raise the profile of the boxers.

Dan Rafael of ESPN notes that Top Rank and ESPN signed a four-year deal which commenced in August 2017.  It was amended in April to coincide with the launch of the ESPN+ streaming service.  The new deal will continue to air live on ESPN in prime time as well as on ESPN+.

Payout Perspective:

It’s an interesting deal that should help Top Rank and ESPN’s new OTT platform.  Already, we’ve seen Manny Pacquiao fight on ESPN+ and it’s likely we’ll get additional programming featuring boxers from the Top Rank promotion.  What does that mean for HBO?  How will Showtime respond?  The boxing landscape seems to be changing.

Ratings for boxing telecasts on ESPN and Showtime Friday night

July 23, 2018

There were two boxing telecasts this past Friday on ESPN and Showtime featuring rising stars in the sport.

Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN averaged 375,000 viewers.  In the featured event of the telecast, Lamont Roach defeated Deivi Julio Bassa to win the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight Title.

Showtime Boxing: The Next Generation topped out at 304,000 viewers for the fight between Jaron Ennis and Armando Alvarez.

Payout Perspective:

The events featured up and coming fighters that hope to breakthrough to bigger cards in the future.  These events also serve as content for both Showtime and ESPN.  The ratings are expected not to draw but the intent is to hope that one of these fighters becomes the next big star.

Report: ESPN to pay for additional UFC media rights valuing overall deal at $1.5 Billion

May 22, 2018

Variety reports that ESPN has added additional events to its agreement with the UFC which now values the overall deal at $1.5 billion over the course of the multi-year pact.

The latest news all but ensures that Fox, which secured the rights to WWE’s Smackdown on Monday, is done with the UFC after its 7 year runs at the end of 2018.

According to the Variety report, the deal adds 15 more fights to the existing deal for a total of “30 fights” covered under the overall deal.  Presumably, when they mean fights, it refers to events rather than just an individual fight on the card.

In April, the UFC and ESPN+ reached a deal for the promotion’s digital rights for $750 million.  This deal, which seemingly worked in lockstep to the WWE deal announced Monday, is for events on ESPN’s linear channels and ESPN+.  The UFC will still have PPV and its Fight Pass streaming service.

Payout Perspective:

The new report indicates another $750 million for the remaining media rights of the UFC.  The $1.5 billion figure over a 5-year period means the UFC will receive approximately $300 million a year over the course of the accord.  This is a very good deal for the UFC when you consider that they were being offered $175-$200 million for media rights (although its not clear if that included digital rights).  While it might not be as robust as the WWE’s latest deal which has them receiving money from NBCUniversal and Fox, it is a grand improvement on their last deal with Fox.

Lomachenko-Linares draw 1.024M on ESPN

May 15, 2018

ESPN Top Rank Boxing Saturday night scored 1.024 million viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The feature bout saw Vasiliy Lomachenko stop Jorge Linares.

The event began earlier than most main events with it starting around 6:30pm on the west coast.

The event scored 0.35 in the A18-49 demo.  It drew 0.51 in the M18-49 demo.

The event drew less than Lomachenko’s December showdown with Guillermo Rigondeux as that fight drew 1.73M viewers.  The December matchup started later in the night and was proceeded by the Heisman Trophy Presentation.  Still, Lomachenko-Linares outdrew the rest of the combat sports going on Saturday night.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are a positive even though they were less than December’s fight.  The glut of combat sports on Saturday night and the earlier start time probably contributed a little to the lower number.  For those on the west coast, it was a little surprising to see the card starting at 5pm and the main event happening in the 6pm hour.  This may have helped those on the east coast but for those on the west coast it may have been hard to catch.

Report: UFC nearing next TV deal?

April 17, 2018

Variety reports that ESPN and Fox Sports are coming together to bid for the television rights for the UFC.  The companies will split the UFC TV package and we will see 15 fight events moving to new subscription streaming service ESPN+.

ESPN, according to sources, ESPN is willing to pay $120-$180 million per year.  Fox currently pays $120 million per year.

The number of fights from Fox would “decline slightly” according to the report.

Last spring a Sports Business Journal article indicated that the UFC was looking for a rights package of $450 million per year.  The Variety article notes that it reportedly sought $300-$400 million per year.

But the ratings decline on Fox are glaring.  The article states that Saturday-night broadcasts fell 22% from the previous year.  This past Saturday’s UFC on Fox 29 barely surpassed 2 million viewers after the overrun.  The “UFC Fight Night” on FS1 averaged 795,000 viewers this year which is reportedly down 17%.

Payout Perspective:

If the rumored deal comes to fruition, it will represent a shakeup for UFC TV that will likely affect UFC Fight Pass.  In passing, articles on the media deal have indicated that the digital platform has approximately 400,000 subscribers.  With the launch of ESPN’s new OTT platform, the UFC will contribute to the variety of content offered.  But, this may mean a loss of exclusivity for Fight Pass which may have to rely on its library to keep its subscription base as MMA fans will have another bill to pay.

Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN draws 407,000 viewers

March 27, 2018

Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 407,000 viewers Saturday night.  The event headlined by Jose Martinez and Alejandro Santiago garnered 104,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The telecast aired about the same time as the Elite Eight game between Florida State and Michigan.  The NCAA game on TBS drew 9.713 million viewers and 3.9 million viewers in the A18-49 demo.

Also, on Saturday was HBO Boxing with an afternoon telecast that replayed again on Saturday night.

Payout Perspective:

As with the HBO telecast, Saturday was a hard afternoon/night to compete with NCAA basketball as both boxing events did not draw that many viewers.

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