Saturday American Boxing Triple-Header Cards Diluted Viewers
To no one’s surprise, the “log jam” of prominent boxing cards from Carson, California, to Frisco, Texas to Tulsa, Oklahoma, last Saturday night caused TV and streaming viewership to be fragmented. However, there is still some positive news out of the tangible numbers for two of the shows.
First the ESPN numbers are in for Saturday nights WBA Super-Flyweight World title, trilogy fight won by Joshua Franco by unanimous decision over Andrew Moloney. That was shown on regular cable in the late prime time hours in the Eastern and Central time zones of the U.S. and scored an average audience of 392,000 for the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” and Top Rank Boxing. The main event peaked at 467,000 viewers in the closing rounds.
It should be noted that all of the fight cards Saturday were going head-to-head not only with Major League Baseball live coverage, but also a full National Football League Saturday night preseason game slate, as well. As a reference, the NFL Network showed the Jacksonville Jaguars-Cleveland Browns game live between 7-10 p.m. Eastern time and earned an average audience of 1.6 million fans.
Back to the fights. In addition to the ESPN Top Rank show from Tulsa, “Showtime Championship Boxing”/PBC had the WBO World Bantamweight Championship fight between John Riel Casimero and Guillermo Rigondeaux. According to Keith Idec of Boxingscene.com, the fight that was a fairly dull 12 rounder still registered just under 280,000 in audience for the premium cable service.
— BoxingScene.com (@boxingscene) August 18, 2021
But, it should also be noted that the Casimero’s victory in California grew in audience size to by over 25,000 viewers in the final couple of rounds of the fight. This, as it was going directly head-to-head with the Franco – Moloney main event on ESPN.
And, it’s important to note that those numbers are only those who watched through television not Showtime or ESPN’s streaming services. Neither outlet makes those numbers known.
You also factor in that DAZN streaming service and Golden Boy Promotions also had their main event just earlier in the evening between unbeaten Texan welterweight Vergil Ortiz KO of former World Title challenger “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas. And, you can clearly see why the audience was split all over the place. DAZN also does not release streaming figures but it is believed that they have over 100,000 subscribers in any given month, right now, for their U.S. service.
Amazingly, there was also originally another proposed fourth important fight for August 14th. This one was to be involving Undisputed Lightweight World Champion Teofimo Lopez’s rescheduled bout with IBF number one contender, George Kambosos.
That fight has been delayed throughout the summer due to Lopez testing positive for Covid-19 and now, a scheduling dispute on where and when it’s going to be held.
Of course, there can be two arguments that this many significant fights on the same night is actually healthy for the sport, especially after the summer of 2020 where we had virtually nothing in June, July and August.
Then again, this is the reason why the promotions race to be the first one to essentially “plant their flag in the ground” and put a fight card of significance on a certain Saturday night, realizing that the others likely stay away from that date.
That didn’t happen for August 14th, and we’ll see if it arises again as the Summer leads to the Fall