By Jake Donovan
The most recent edition of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on FS1 never expected to post a win in the ratings column while going head-to-head with NCAA’s March Madness college basketball tournament.
Then again, those who didn’t bother to tune in probably didn’t expect to miss out on the leading Fight of the Year contender, which can only help replay value.
Sunday’s telecast averaged just over 290,000 viewers across Fox Sports’ various platforms, topped by Sergey Lipinets’ thrilling 10th round knockout of Lamont Peterson (35-5-1, 17KOs) in a battle of former titlists at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md.
The bulk of the viewership came from its FS1 telecast, which peaked at 290,000 viewers from 9:45pm-10:00pm ET from an average of 248,000 viewers. Another 40,000 watched on Fox Deportes while 2,134 subscribers tuned in via Fox Sports streaming service.
The main event itself averaged 230,000 viewers, which actually started well after the allotted two-hour time slot for the telecast, as the show as a whole ran more than an hour past its budgeted 10:00pm ET signoff.
Despite positive social media buzz, the telecast was lost in the sports shuffle on a weekend dominated by college basketball. The tournament as a whole averaged more than 10 million viewers across four networks (CBS, TNT, TBS, truTV) on Sunday, up 8% from second round coverage one year ago.
FS1’s boxing offering on Sunday went head-to-head with basketball coverage on TBS and TNT. The pair of games on TBS averaged 2.747 million and 2.695 million viewers, up 47% and 21% from the same window one year prior.
The good news for boxing within Fox Sports' universe was that—despite Sunday’s poor ratings performance—the show was actually up 15% from last year’s PBC on FS1 average.
Also of note, the preliminary offering preceding the main card averaged 374,000 viewers on FS1 amongst over 400,000 viewers total across all platforms.
The early show benefited from a strong lead-in from FS1’s coverage of NASCAR Monster Energy Cup race which averaged 2.455 million viewers. Included among the coverage was Aaron Coley’s minor upset win over local middleweight Brandon Quarles, as well as the latest step in the career of Baltmore’s Lorenzo Simpson, a former amateur standout and current rising prospect.
The ratings pull for the earlier telecast marked the best-ever performing FS1 preliminary show for a non-PPV event.
As for the main telecast, the night saw Lipinets (15-1, 11KOs)—a former 140-pound titlist—emerge as a welterweight threat in scoring a dramatic knockout win on the road. The event took place mere miles from Peterson’s D.C. hometown, making its ending that much more bittersweet as the former two-division titlist immediately announced his retirement.
The next edition of PBC on FS1 will take place April 13 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The show will be topped by local favorite and former super middleweight titlist Caleb Truax in a dangerous crossroads bout with former middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin. Also on the show is a middleweight title eliminator between Sergey Derevyanchenko and Jack Culcay.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox