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NBC Gets Strong Rating For "Premier Boxing Champions;" Will Second Event See Falloff?

NBC Gets Strong Rating For "Premier Boxing Champions;" Will Second Event See Falloff?

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NBC's telecast peaked at a 3.0 rating during the last half hour of Guerrero-Thurman
NBC drew a 2.5 overnight rating for the debut of "Premier Boxing Champions" on Saturday night from 8:30-11:00pm ET. The rating increased every half hour and peaked at a 3.0 rating during the last half hour of the Robert Guerrero-Keith Thurman bout. The fight helped NBC to a primetime win among adults 18-49. Norfolk led all markets with a 5.5 local rating, followed by Cincinnati (4.9) and San Antonio (4.8). For comparison, the 2.5 rating was well ahead of NBC’s 1.0 overnight for Rangers-Flyers in primetime last Saturday night. The number was closer to NBC’s Saturday primetime coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships back on Jan. 24, which drew a 2.3. Back in November ’11, Fox drew a 3.5 overnight for the debut of UFC on broadcast TV, but that telecast was only one hour and featured a single bout, which was for the heavyweight championship. The "PBC" debut also had competition Saturday night from the Duke-North Carolina men’s hoops game, which drew a 2.6 overnight ESPN from 9:00-11:15pm. During the 9:00-11:00pm window, "PBC" drew a 2.7 overnight (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). SI.com's Richard Deitsch noted the "PBC" rating "tripled NBC average for Saturday afternoon fights" from '12-14. The next "PBC" on NBC comes April 11, and will be "a much truer ratings reflection given the novelty of watching boxing on network television will have receded a bit." NBC will be "competing against the start of the MLB season that day as well the final week of the NBA regular season and the last night of the NHL’s regular season" (SI.com, 3/8).

PEACOCK PROUD: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes the presence of "PBC" on-air host Al Michaels "seemed solely to let fans know that NBC was taking the event seriously." Play-by-play announcer Marv Albert "was outstanding and the best part of NBC's coverage." Lead analyst Sugar Ray Leonard "wasn't bad, but he wasn't great, either." Corner reporters Laila Ali and B.J. Flores "were fine but really weren't given much room to stretch their legs." All in all, it "felt like NBC was figuring it out as it went along, and only Albert's experience and talent salvaged the night." The debut is "a decent start for NBC, whose coverage should improve." It is "still not on par with HBO, the gold standard for boxing, but let's give NBC a chance," as it is "just getting back into the game" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 3/9). During the telecast, boxer John Molina Jr. said, “Thirty years ago was the last time we were on primetime television. Now, we're given this platform and we're going to make sure we utilize it.” As the network signed off the telecast, Michaels said primetime boxing on network TV is “back with a bang” (“Premier Boxing Champions,” NBC, 3/7).

GUESS WHO'S BACK: USA TODAY's Martin Rogers wrote under the header, "Prime-Time Network Boxing Off To Strong Start." Boxing manager Al Haymon "could scarcely have dreamed of such a positive outcome," as the main event "was everything needed to appeal to the masses and get them to come back for more." The series will "take a long time to deliver a knockout blow to the American mainstream's boxing apathy but this at least was a bloodied nose for the doubters and naysayers." Boxing, "for now at least, is back in prime time and will live or die on whether it provides a compelling enough product to lure in an audience that didn't realize it cared" (USATODAY.com, 3/8).

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