Ratings show boxing can sell: PBC on FOX Thrived in 2019
As the year turns over, some folks at FOX are happy they invested in boxing in 2019.
The ratings numbers are strong, after Jermell Charlo’s 11th round TKO over Tony Harrison to reclaim the WBC junior middleweight title on December 21, at the Toyota Arena, in Ontario, California.
FOX Sports released some figures that proves boxing can thrive on network TV. The three-fight PBC Fight Night on FOX broadcast on December 21 drew 1,650,000 viewers, which ranks as the most-watched boxing telecast on any network in 11 months (just behind the FOX January 2019 Keith Thurman – Josesito Lopez telecast). The Charlo-Harrison main-event averaged 2.223 million viewers from 10-10:45pm, peaking at 2.233 million viewers from 10:30-10:45p.
Overall, PBC Fight Night generated a combined 1.850 million viewers on FOX, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports streaming services.
On the FOX Sports streaming services the telecast had an average minute audience of 11,317, while the FOX Deportes telecast added an additional 189,000 viewers.
In a statement from PBC, “The platform on FOX has been strong for the PBC. One of the key features has been the shoulder programming that has allowed PBC to tell the stories of the boxers and to give people a peek inside their lives so that the fans are invested when they tune in. The ratings were strong for 2019 and we expect that it will build in 2020. With the abundance of talent that we have and the quality of the shows that we put on, we expect that the PBC on FOX will be stronger than ever and something that the fans will certainly enjoy.”
FS1’s coverage of the PBC undercard did 108,000 viewers, with the highlight super middleweight fight between Hugo Centero Jr. and Juan Montiel resulted in a 10-round draw.
For the 2019 calendar year, PBC Fight Night telecasts on FOX averaged 1,403,000 viewers.
Those figures are up:
+12% over 2018’s average of 1,254,000 viewers (4 tcs).
+103% better than ESPN’s average for Top Rank Boxing telecasts (vs. 692,000 viewers)
+35% better than ESPN’s UFC Fight Night
In 2019, Americans consumed over 2.1 billion minutes of PBC Fight Night on FOX, which was plus-147% more than last year’s 849 million (PBC FOX telecasts only).
What really stood out was FOX’s additional shoulder programming. Specifically, the Fight Camp series. The last Deontay Wilder–Luis Ortiz episode set FOX viewership records with almost 2.5-million watching, as well as the Countdown, Face To Face, and Inside PBC Boxing shows.
What’s aided this is how FOX has packaged its broadcasts. It was tough to miss Shawn Porter’s visit to the FOX’s NFL Sunday studio with Curt Menefee, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson and Michael Strahan during Week 3 of the NFL season. It served as a nice crossover push to Porter’s much-anticipated fight against Errol Spence Jr. in September.
Above everything else, it’s what FOX did best, giving the fighters a face at mainstream sports events like Sunday NFL Games, Thursday Night Football, baseball games and WWE events in promoting big fights.