The ratings are in for the
second boxing card on NBC and promoter Main Events is pleased with the turnout.
On April 20th,
Main Events hosted a card at the Theater at Madison Square Garden’s with heavyweights
Tyson Fury and Steve Cunningham in the featured main event. The card, which
aired at 4 p.m. Eastern on NBC, drew an average of 1.2 million viewers, peaking
at 1.7 million, according to Nielsen ratings. Fury won the fight by knockout in
the seventh round.
“We do not have anything to
add to the information you obtained from Nielsen but we can say that everyone
was very happy with the broadcast,” Main Events said in a recent press statement.
“As far as we can tell from publicly released ratings, it appears we had the
highest rated boxing program in the United States in 2012 and now the highest
rated program so far in 2013, which feels pretty good!”
Fury-Cunningham was the
second boxing card to air on NBC during a Saturday afternoon. The first,
featuring a rematch between Cunningham and rival Tomasz Adamek on December 22,
drew a rating of 1.6 million viewers and peaked at 3.2 million.
While Fury-Cunningham drew
lower ratings, it’s important to note the direct competition up against the
event. That Saturday, Fury-Cunningham went directly against Game One of the
Boston Celtics-New York Knicks series. Compare that to the competition Adamek-Cunningham
II faced (up against regular season college basketball games) and the rating is
NBC thinks so too.
Night’ telecasts have drawn strong viewership as evidenced by the 1.2 million
who tuned in on May
20,” said Gary Quinn, Vice President of Programming at NBC Sports Group.
“We look forward to programming future ‘Fight Night’ shows on NBC Sports Network and NBC.”
The week after
Fury-Cunningham saw a direct clash in ratings between HBO and Showtime.
Of course it wasn’t the
first time the two networks went head to head but it was the first time the
networks went head to head after HBO vowed to stop working with Golden Boy
Promotions. On HBO, Sergio Martinez vs. Martin Murray drew in a 696,000 viewers
while Showtime’s Danny Garcia-Zab Judah battle drew in an average of 580,000.
What’s more interesting is
that when it comes to the peak number, Garcia-Judah peaked at 804,000 viewers
compared to Martinez-Murray peaking with 747,000 viewers.
While Martinez-Murray went on earlier than expected due to weather issues in
Argentina, it shows that Showtime is closing the gap in the ratings department.
The last time boxing fans
had to choose between Showtime and HBO on a Saturday night was on December 15.
HBO dominated the night by having Nonito Donaire vs. Jorge Arce draw 1.3
million viewers while Amir Khan vs. Carlos Molina on Showtime peaked at 616,000.
Before that, the two companies counterprogrammed against each other on November
10 with HBO having the better average with 607,000 viewers for Erislandy Lara
vs. Vanes Martirosyan compared to Abner Mares vs. Anselmo Moreno peaking at
So what’s the big deal about
804 and Showtime having a bigger peak?
For the first time since at
least 2010, Showtime had a bigger peak rating than HBO on the night they went
head to head. The network often considered to be the little brother of HBO and
focused on picking up the scraps HBO didn’t (or, in the Ross Greenburg years,
couldn’t because of overspending) is now a serious rival to the “Network of
HBO may have the better
average ratings - and that’s also important to note when judging - but they
also have a larger subscriber base by six million. To HBO’s credit, it’s hard
to tell how many of those six million tune into just boxing. As it stand right
now, HBO has the better ratings overall.
Still with the two networks
producing an excellent amount of content, could the true impact of this “Cold
War” be that ratings are actually suffering because of it? It’s not like
numbers that mark below a million are particularly impressive. Together, the
events surpass a million but I have to wonder if network executives –
particularly HBO – are okay with their individual numbers being below their
Even this year, HBO hasn’t
seen higher ratings like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s 1.9 million or Bernard Hopkins’
1.6 million from last year. HBO’s Vice President of Programming Kery Davis told
TheSweetScience.com that their cards averaged around 1.2 million. This year,
through six events, HBO’s average is around 1.1 million. The number is
consistent but the company hasn’t had any exceptional numbers either.
If this “Cold War” continues
(and there’s no indication it’s ending anytime soon), it will be fascinating to
see if there’s constant counterprogramming between the networks. Sometimes
counterprogramming is just unavoidable with only a certain amount of dates but
with April 27’s ratings being so close to each other – one has to wonder if
this war will escalate as a war for viewers.
If it does, the positives
and negatives of that will be interesting to monitor.
When I first did a piece on
television ratings for Maxboxing, I included a list of HBO’s ratings from 2011
until the first half of 2012. Below are the second half of 2012 and the first
part of 2013, according to Nielsen.
1, 2012: “HBO Boxing After Dark” (Gennady Golovkin vs. Grzegorz
Proska) averaged 685,000 viewers watching Live + Same Day.
8, 2012: “HBO World Championship Boxing” (Andre Ward vs. Chad
Dawson) averaged 1.3 million viewers watching Live + Same Day.
29, 2012: “HBO Boxing After
Dark” (Edwin Rodriguez vs. Jason Escalera) averaged 904,000 viewers watching Live
+ Same Day.
13, 2012: “HBO
Boxing After Dark” (Nonito Donaire vs. Toshiaki Nishioka) averaged 835,000
viewers watching Live + Same Day.
10, 2012: “HBO Boxing After Dark” (Vanes Martirosyan vs. Erislandy
Lara) averaged 667,000 viewers watching Live + Same Day.
17, 2012: “HBO World Championship Boxing” (Adrien Broner vs.
Antonio DeMarco) averaged 1.1 million viewers watching Live + Same Day.
24, 2012: “HBO World Championship Boxing” (Robert Guerrero vs.
Andre Berto) averaged 1.1 million viewers watching Live + Same Day.
15, 2012: “HBO World Championship Boxing” (Nonito Donaire vs. Jorge
Arce) averaged 1.3 million viewers watching Live + Same Day.
16, 2013: “HBO World Championship Boxing” (Adrien Broner vs. Gavin
Rees) averaged 1.4 million viewers watching Live + Same Day.
9, 2013: “HBO World Championship Boxing” (Bernard Hopkins vs.
Tavoris Cloud) averaged 1.2 million viewers watching Live + Same Day.
16, 2013: “HBO World Championship Boxing” (Tim Bradley vs. Ruslan
Provodnikov) averaged 1.2 million viewers watching Live + Same Day.
30, 2013: “HBO Boxing After Dark” (Mike Alvarado vs. Brandon Rios II)
averaged 1.1 million viewers Live + Same Day.
13, 2013: “HBO World Championship Boxing” (Guillermo Rigondeaux vs.
Nonito Donaire) averaged 1.1 million viewers watching Live + Same Day.
27, 2013: “HBO World Championship Boxing” (Sergio Martinez vs.
Martin Murray) averaged 696, 000 viewers watching Live + Same Day. (Note:
Bermane Stiverne vs. Chris Arreola did 747,000).
average: 1.1 million viewers with 17 events.
average: 1.1 million viewers with 21 events.
visit our Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing,
where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in
via our fully interactive article comments sections.