In what is even more mounting evidence that boxing is not dying or being overtaken by the UFC, NBC scored very strong ratings for their December 22nd broadcast featuring the heavyweight contest between Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham. This two-hour broadcast did a rating of 2.2 (with an average of 1.6 million viewers) but really encouraging was that in the last half-hour of the telecast, the audience peaked at 3.2 million viewers.
The only sporting event that had superior numbers during this time slot was a basketball game between traditional powers Kansas and Ohio State and the fight had a bigger audience by the end of the broadcast.
Yeah, people still watch boxing. How ’bout that?
Now, you’ve got to put this into perspective. If a prime time sitcom did those numbers, it would get canceled after the very first episode. And it pales in comparison to, say, the NFL, which has become an absolute Nielsens monster ( [link to nflcommunications.com] but compared to what boxing does on the premium cable networks, it’s eye-opening. The highest peak audience that HBO had this year was during Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s bout versus Marco Antonio Rubio back in February, with about 1.8 million viewers.CBS, which dipped its big toe back into the “Sweet Science” on December 15th, had a 90 percent retention rate from its lead-in, an overtime hoops game between Indiana and Butler that preceded Leo Santa Cruz’s latest outing from the Los Angeles Sports Arena. It peaked at around 1.8 million viewers, about three times more than the audience that saw him win his IBF bantamweight title in June on Showtime. The fight on NBC followed snowboarding which procured a rating of 0.5.