Bounce TV Gets A Surprise(And Huge) Ratings Win With It’s PBC Broadcast
By: Sean Crose
Boxing fans and analysts can be a mean bunch. They can be a great bunch, sure, but they can be mean as hell at times. Indeed, some Twitter cranks I know might well openly admit their less than pleasant take on all things boxing. Here’s the thing, though – the nastiness can be grating as much as it can be (let’s face it) genuinely funny. Case in point: Bounce TV, a little-known cable network, has been running Premiere Boxing Champions fights for some time now. And it’s practically been laughed out of Dodge by the fight world’s know it alls.
The fights were crap. The broadcast team was crap. The production values were crap. There was nothing redeeming at all about such a joke of an operation and fight fans were essentially better off checking out bowling instead. So essentially went the word around the sewing circle. Then came last weekend. I wrote about Bounce TVs PBC card that Friday, and it was a doozy. Rising star Robert Easter did his thing, of course, but it was the two lead up fights before Easter’s appearance that made for truly thrilling television. The middleweight throwdown between Terrell Gausha and Luis Hernandez was most impressive. Same with Rau’shee Warren’s upset defeat at the gloves of Shanat Zhakiyaof in a bantamweight title scrap.
What’s, more the audience in Toledo, Ohio was alive and kicking, something fight fans don’t see much of outside of Europe these days. Oh, and the broadcast team, which included Austin Trout, was very likeable and not the least bit grating (unlike some broadcast teams can be at times). Little wonder, then, that Friday’s card did good ratings. What IS a surprise, however, is that the card actually did far better than good ratings. It did great ratings. Over a million pairs of eyeballs tuned into little known Bounce last weekend. That’s big news.
And good news, as well. Not just for Bounce and Al Haymon, the man behind Premiere Boxing Champions, but for the sport of boxing in general. When people in the seven figure range are going down the channel guide to watch some boxing, it’s always a good thing. Perhaps the most important element of last weekend’s success, however, was the fact that the fights were high quality. People talk when there’s exciting matches on television. They tell the internet, and all who read their words, what’s happening. And then people tune in. That’s something this sport’s powers that be seem to have forgotten.
Those of us who are of a certain age remember a time when, late on a winter Saturday afternoon, great boxing could be seen in less than glitzy locations, with live wire crowds and a genuine sense of excitement permeating throughout the broadcast. Last Friday’s Bounce card reminded me of those forgotten times. Which is why the joke is most certainly NOT on Bounce TV right now. Good boxing brings in good numbers. Sometimes that simple message happens to be delivered in unexpected ways.