Terence Crawford Also Delivered ESPN Ratings Increase Saturday
WBO World Welterweight Champ Terence Crawford was impressive in the ring on Saturday and so too, was the bump in television audience for ESPN.
The final numbers came in Tuesday for Saturday night’s fourth round knockout by the Omaha, Nebraska-native Crawford of England’s Kell Brook and it was good news for Top Rank Boxing and ESPN,
— Mitch Metcalf/Salem (@ShowBuzzDaily) November 17, 2020
Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum and “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” once again, put the main event on a regular ESPN pay cable, as opposed to behind a paywall for ESPN+ or much less on Pay-per-view.
And, the Crawford-Brook card delivered an overall 1.75 million viewers on average for the two and half hour broadcast.
This is the same strategy that was used with last month’s Undisputed Lightweight Title fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez. Lopez’s impressive 12 round unanimous decision win garnered nearly 3 million fans watching the main event.
Boxingscene.com’s Keith Idec reported that Saturday night, the Crawford main event average audience was just more than 2 million fans for his fourth successful defense in Las Vegas.
And, the increase was apparent in comparison to December of 2019 when Crawford’s main event title defense, also on ESPN, against lesser known Egidjius “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas had a television audience of only 1.6 million viewers.
Part of the motivation by Arum/Top Rank of not having the biggest stars shows on Pay-per-view is the tough economic times with the covid-19 pandemic and trying to rebuild as much audience for the sport as possible after it was completely shut down for 90 days this past Spring and Summer.
Now the larger question is will Crawford go back on Pay-per-view for his next fight and whom will that be against?
And more specifically and as we wrote last week, will Crawford try to get out of the remaining months of his deal with Top Rank and therefore ESPN?
This would be much the same way that Canelo Alvarez just successfully did recently with Oscar De La Hoya / Golden Boy Promotions. And Canelo will headline on December 19th on the DAZN streaming service against England’s Callum Smith.