While the final chapter of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) has not yet been written, a disquieting tale is unfolding. By all indications, PBC has proven to be a financial nightmare.
Haymon’s outfit allegedly ripped through over half a billion dollars in only the first 3 years. There is little evidence it has reaped any kind of significant return. In addition, Haymon also conceded a substantial payout to resolve the $100 million federal antitrust lawsuit by rival promoter Top Rank.
Moreover, the company’s core principles are in question. With another $925 million federal suit, backers of asset management firm Waddell & Reed who capitalized this venture accuse Haymon of operating what amounts to a criminal enterprise.
One reason the company’s power has flickered is a lack of competitive bouts. They feature a solid cast overall
but limited depth restricts their ability to consistently deliver a top quality product. The PBC name fighter is
routinely matched with a lesser opponent. And lopsided results have diminished their brand.
There is a perception that Haymon may be less concerned with delivering the best matches than securing high purses for his favored stars. This idea should be commended in most cases, however not at the expense of the sport and it’s faithful. Future plans can be vague. When they air a championship level match, PBC often gives no sense of what may follow.
By contrast, Bob Arum and Top Rank usually give some indication what might be coming up after a major event. That serves to keep fans involved. With PBC, one match doesn’t necessarily build into the next. Partly why they struggle to cultivate a new audience. Viewers connect with a storyline.
PBC has failed to push talent when opportunities were presented. Keith Thurman’s welterweight title unifying victory over Danny Garcia in March
was an unqualified rating success. Yet converting solid numbers into a lasting revenue stream remains elusive. They missed on the chance to enhance Thurman’s profile since then. Thurman is due back in April after a year away following elbow surgery. In that period he was virtually out of sight, out of mind.
Heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder is not marketed in an effective way. None of his title challengers have garnered any kind of buzz. Wilder did more to raise his own stock in the last six weeks than PBC has done for him.
The promotion can be hard to follow. Even dedicated observers find it difficult to remember which cards are on what channels. They have aired shows on a variety of networks including CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN, Spike and Bounce TV. Most observers would agree the shows are hit or miss. Unable to gain traction with ESPN or Spike, those time buy options were not renewed.
The reach was impressive but it won’t matter unless they work toward a more specific goal. How long will they endure? As the calendar turns into 2018, Haymon & Co approach their day of reckoning.