By: Ron Valderrama/Secondsout.com
Photo: Premier Boxing Champions
In less than a year, Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) has spent millions of dollars to bring boxing back to Prime time mainstream television. The grit and willingness to take on such a feat like this for the sweet science warrants “Promoter of the Year” status.
The brainchild of boxing adviser/manager Al Haymon, Premier Boxing Champions has been praised and criticized. Haymon is rarely seen and never grants interviews, he began his career in music production, promoting some big names in the music industry. In a gutsy move, PBC secured multi-year television contracts with NBC, CBS, Fox, Spike TV and Bounce TV. PBC didn’t stop there, they also secured a deal to broadcast 12 cards per year on ESPN and an afternoon event on ABC, the contract runs for two years.
PBC’s concept of presenting boxing in prime time draws hardcore boxing fans, as well as the casual fan who may not watch boxing on a premium cable channel. The way a PBC show is presented is far different than a typical televised boxing event, at least the way we see boxing on HBO or Showtime. The shows are carefully orchestrated and presented in a way that is designed to excite the crowd. The fighters enter the ring on a stage known as the “Ring of Honor.” The high definition screen above the ring not only acts as a scoreboard, it also plays instant replay as well as other features.
PBC debuted on March 7 of this year on NBC, drawing in an audience of more than three million viewers. The inaugural show featured as the main event, Keith Thurman vs Robert Guerrero and Adrien Broner facing John Molina as the co-main event. Since then, PBC has presented numerous shows in any given month and has showcased some solid talent.
Some big names have signed with Haymon and are featured on PBC. Names like Deontay Wilder, Adrien Broner and Errol Spence, to name a few have found a home here. PBC has a stable of fighters that runs deep, the large number of cards they present promotes the big name elite fighters, and presents opportunity for the up and coming rising stars that may not be seen on a premium channel card.
In it’s short existence, PBC has both prospered, and had it’s share of growing pains. An antitrust lawsuit claiming in part, a violation of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act has been one of the obstacles that PBC has had to deal with. Overall, PBC has succeeded in what they have set out to achieve, that being to bring boxing back to mainstream television.
Whether a fan of PBC or not, they are here to stay and have the financial backing to continue for the foreseeable future. The fights we have seen thus far on PBC, and the potential for exciting fights we will see in 2016, will at the very least allow us to witness a fighter become a champion at primetime on mainstream television.
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