Thank You PBC
Hate it or love it PBC has had an impact on boxing most either fail to see or don’t want to. Boxing on television was a staple in my parents era but not so much in mine.
You either needed cable with premium channels or you better be ready to go somewhere to watch a PPV fight. The days of the Wide World of Sports on ABC, where you can get a fight on a Saturday afternoon were long gone. Which some believe caused the sport to dwindle in popularity in America.
Enter Al Haymon who seamlessly made the transition from music to boxing and it all started with a fighter not named Floyd Mayweather but the late great Vernon Forrest.
When the idea of PBC came about it was met with resistance by both networks and promoters but the plan went ahead regardless of the hurdles. With backing of Waddell and Reed they were able to buy airtime on Spike TV, CBS, NBC, and few others.
Like many new ventures it had a bumpy road as folks didn’t like the quality of fights, writers would talk about ratings and put a negative light on the product. That part has always baffled me how could someone the cover sport and never have anything positive to say, just seemed like there was always a hidden agenda!
On one Sunday afternoon however with some flawless planning they put on a fight card that changed things. That night in August 2016, Errol Spence Jr would KO Leonard Bundu in dramatic fashion. Why was it flawless? Simple it came on right after the U.S men’s basketball team won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Over 6 million people watch the fight, making it the highest watched PBC show ever!
They followed it up with Keith Thurman/Shawn Porter on CBS. Deontay Wilder received good numbers on FOX and everything pointed up for the brand.
The same people that were against it now were looking for a way to go the same route. Golden Boy signed a ESPN deal for their programming, Top Rank who seem to be unhappy with HBO’s boxing budget began to explore the option. Eventually Top Rank would sign an exclusive deal with ESPN as well.
Without PBC none of this would of ever happened. We would never seen Jeff Horn/Manny Pacquaio or Terence Crawford become undisputed champion. It forced other promoters to think outside the box and no longer stick to the status quo. Hate it or love it PBC force their hands and for that I’m grateful. Boxing for everyone to see and less PPVs in sight!
Sure the PBC may have blew through the money they were given by Waddell and Reed by buying airtime or taking good care of their fighters but let’s be realistic. Boxing is coming off it’s best year in a long time and Al Haymon’ s PBC brand should definitely receive some credit for that.
The investment they made in the PBC brand is paying dividends for the entire sport. Do you really think if the PBC never buys the airtime from ESPN and shows them there’s a market for boxing that Golden Boy and Top Rank gets their deals? Yeah me either….
By: Wilson Urena