Friday, October 20, 2017  |


Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia peaks at 5.1 million viewers on CBS

Photo by: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment

Keith Thurman won his fight on Saturday against Danny Garcia and even nearly predicted the peak audience for the CBS telecast.

Thurman’s split decision victory against Garcia in a welterweight unification bout at Barclays Center peaked at 5.1 million viewers, representing a 30% jump since the last CBS boxing telecast in June for Thurman’s unanimous decision victory against Shawn Porter, according to data provided by Showtime. Saturday’s main event also drew the biggest audience for a primetime boxing telecast since 1998, according to the release.

The average viewership for the Thurman-Garcia main event was 3.74 million viewers, a 19% jump from the Thurman-Porter main event average. The number mushroomed to 5.1 million in the final round of Thurman-Garcia. Thurman (28-0, 22 knockouts) told in the days before the fight it “would be a true honor and blessing” if the peak audience rose to between 5.5 million and 6 million eyeballs.

Only the NBC bout between Errol Spence and Leonard Bundu in August, which immediately followed coverage of the men’s gold medal basketball game at the Rio Games had a higher peak audience since 1998 (including non-primetime telecasts). The average viewership for Saturday’s entire telecast (from 9 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. ET), which included the co-feature of Erickson Lubin against Jorge Coda, was 3.1 million viewers, placing it the third most watched live boxing event on broadcast television since 1998.

Moreover, the broadcast average was 83 percent higher than Saturday’s NBA Primetime Game on ABC, featuring the LA Clippers and the Chicago Bulls, which drew 1.7 million, according to the press release.  The only boxing broadcasts with higher average viewership was Spence-Bundu and the debut Premier Boxing Champions telecast between Thurman and Robert Guerrero in 2015, according to the release.

  • Rosalino Sanchez Felix

    5.1 million viewers! and they laid an egg, shame!

    • Chris Stans

      It wasn’t that bad. Wasn’t that good either but…

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  • Michel Desgrottes

    That’s cool, boxing needs more prime time bouts, they missed a opportunity by not adding heather hardy to the telecast

  • Shawn

    Didn’t know there was that many people, with just one eyeball out there.
    Good numbers though.

  • Paul Kelly

    Too bad about 5 million of those viewers turned off the fight and thought, “Well, there’s 45 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.” Dull fight, mainly because Thurman ran and Garcia had no idea how to cut off the ring.

  • John Grady

    Very important for the sport of boxing – accessibility to good fights between name fighters can help compel some fans to invest their time following the sport again. The myriad ABC titles remains a huge issue, however.

    • Stephen M

      I thinks it’s more important that the fight delivers thrills . By chance I happened upon Gatti vs Robinson which became the 1998 Ring fight of the Year. I didn’t know who either guy was but I was totally hooked. I have hardly missed a fight since …

      • John Grady

        Great point, Stephen.

        Matchmakers can only put the fights together, which has been a problem for some time (especially on accessible TV). It is up for the boxers to make the fight thrilling.

        That said, you are right – Gatti had a name, but his fights with Ward made him legendary and remains known to any serious fan. Across the street in MMA, no one knew who Griffin and Bonner were when they fought on the first TUF final, but it drew in so many fans.

        I think your example of the chance encounter is an excellent one. Sadly, the involved parties likely focus on the short-term goals (e.g. making the most $ possible; protecting fighters’ records by matching up with manageable opponents) rather than what is the best fight possible (which is great for the fans and sport).

  • Charlie U.

    Going in I thought there was no way boxing could lose. The matchup was great and on prime time TV there were bound to be a lot of viewers. Unfortunately though, I think this fight will have a negative effect on the sport. How many of those 5 million people were inspired by the fight and will tune in again? Other than us hardcores, I seriously doubt boxing found any new fans as a result of that boring fight. Credit to PBC for putting it on, but boxing once again misses out on a huge opportunity to capitalize on a big audience. As for me, I’m not sure if I care to see Thurman in a big spot again, unless he’s getting a comeuppance from the Brook/Spence winner. The guy talked a big game in the buildup, and then he ran in the second half of a fight that he was clearly winning (sound familiar?). A draw would have served him right.

  • Congrats to the talented combatants for making this fight and it’s refreshing to see two Classy boxers get that amount of exposure, based on their skill and professionalism, instead of outlandish behavior. Fight could have been better, but I’m satisfied with what took place. Maybe Keith could have slowed down a little and jabbed his way to victory or maybe a KO, but it was his corner telling him what to do and he executed the plan. 5 words Lady n Gentlemen: Thank God For Al Haymon.

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  • Colin Mc Flurry.

    Give people the chance to watch boxing on network TV and they will tune in.

  • Ruben Reyes

    the ratings are great news, I hope the promoters take notice that the best vs best always gets good ratings…as for the fighters, they laid an egg…the fight wasn’t bad, but considering the stakes, ratings, and scenario, it was a let down. Thurman better not fight another softie in his next outing, and do we really care about Garcia now? It’s not that Garcia lost, it’s that he did not show passion/urgency, not wanting to risk a KO loss after he was already LOSING. And Thurman almost gave the fight away ala DeLaHoya-Trinidad…not all fights have to be Gatti-Ward, but they have to provide DRAMA…this fight had very little.

    • Left Hook

      Best vs Best isn’t nearly as important as the market the fighters are from, the coverage from ESPN, and the competition on the other channels. Wilder’s fight the previous week would have done better ratings if it hadn’t competed for Cavs-Bulls viewers, and if he was from Philly, LA, even Orlando.
      I’ve always felt fighters, especially in ‘big’ fights, should get a bonus for a kayo. An extra $100K might be enough incentive to keep them engaged throughout. Or not…

  • hunger pains

    so in other words, 5 million people were bored to tears