A combination of Olympic competition on NBC and three low-profile fights led to FOX’s lowest-rated boxing broadcast Saturday night since the network began paying for Premier Boxing Champions’ content late in 2018.
Nielsen Media Research revealed Tuesday that the three-bout “FOX PBC Fight Night” telecast drew an average of 621,000 viewers. A peak audience of 696,000 tuned in toward the end of an upset in the main event – Jonnie Rice’s fifth-round, technical-knockout victory over heavily favored Michael Coffie at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Viewership Saturday night was slightly lower than the audience that tuned in for a “FOX PBC Fight Night” telecast that aired May 1 from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The average audience for that broadcast, which featured WBA world middleweight champion Erislandy Lara’s first-round knockout of Thomas LaManna, was 636,000. Viewership peaked that night at 726,000.
Viewership for each of the two aforementioned FOX shows doesn’t include those that watched those cards on FOX’s streaming platforms. Nielsen doesn’t track streaming viewership, either.
FOX has a fourth-year option on its deal with PBC, which was announced in September 2018.
The network, which is available in nearly 120 million homes in the United States, will televise another PBC card Saturday night from The Armory in Minneapolis. Welterweights Eimantas Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs) and Luis Collazo (39-8, 20 KOs) are scheduled to square off in the 10-round main event.
This past Saturday’s show featured two prospects in the bouts before Los Angeles’ Rice (14-6-1, 10 KOs) beat Brooklyn’s Coffie (12-1, 9 KOs), who was listed as a 20-1 favorite.
In FOX’s opener, junior middleweight Joey Spencer (13-0, 9 KOs), of Linden, Michigan, defeated Philadelphia’s James Martin (7-3, 0 KOs) by unanimous decision in an eight-rounder. In the co-feature, Vito Mielnicki Jr. (9-1, 6 KOs), of Roseland, New Jersey, stopped Noah Kidd (6-4-2, 5 KOs), of Jefferson City, Missouri, in the second round of a scheduled eight-round bout.
FS1’s telecast Saturday night, which began after the Rice-Coffie fight from Prudential Center, drew better ratings than usual for live boxing on FOX’s cable sports network.
That three-bout broadcast averaged 160,000 viewers. It peaked at 225,000 viewers during the final televised fight – former IBF interim super middleweight champ Andre Dirrell’s third-round technical knockout of Christopher Brooker.
Dirrell (28-3, 18 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, floored Philadelphia’s Brooker (16-7, 6 KOs) three times before their scheduled 10-rounder was halted.
In FS1’s opener, Philadelphia’s Karl Dargan (20-1, 10 KOs) knocked out Ivan Delgado (13-4-2, 6 KOs) in the third round of a 10-round junior welterweight bout. After Dargan’s win, FS1 televised an eight-round heavyweight bout that Norman Neely (9-0, 7 KOs), of Paterson, New Jersey, won by unanimous decision over Juan Torres (6-4-1, 3 KOs), of Cypress, Texas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.