3 Potential Homes for Premier Boxing Champions
It has been a noteworthy year for the Showtime premium cable network. To start, Showtime’s parent company, Paramount Global, announced that the network’s live streaming video component would be folded into Paramount+ earlier on in the summer.
Subsequent to that announcement, Showtime’s own mobile app would cease to exist by year’s end to allow incumbent subscribers of both services to pay the monthly $11.99 (USD) fee and upgrade to the new Paramount+ subscription plan. This is all part of business.
Whenever a new service or feature gets introduced, an older service offering a similar or the same product will get phased out. It’s a pain for longtime subscribers, but if they want to keep reaping the benefits of what’s being offered, they’ve got to adjust.
Even though there are people out there who are quick to yell “Oh, come on! Don’t we already pay enough?”, there are other people who are more than willing to part with their disposable income and subscribe to Paramount+ with Showtime. This is a topic for another website and another time.
Showtime Sports Exiting the Sweet Science
Let’s fast-forward in time to about a week ago. It’s no secret that these last few weeks have been turbulent times for the premium cabler with relation to its combat sports portfolio. The impending sale of Bellator MMA to the PFL has cast an uncertain future as to where the promotion’s cards might end up on TV.
As if that was not enough cause for concern for fans of competitive violence, reports began to circulate that Showtime would begin to wind down its boxing coverage and no longer offer a regular series of fights from Premier Boxing Champions after 2023 in anticipation of the expiry of the contract between the two parties in 2024. The network is committed to producing pay-per-view events next year to satisfy the remainder of its contract.
With this in mind, PBC founder Al Haymon is already in search of a new home for his promotion’s catalog of events. As one might surmise, given how media is consumed today, streaming video was first on his mind.
Amazon Prime Video Likely Suitor for PBC in the Future
When news first broke that PBC and Showtime would be splitting company, Chris Mannix provided an answer to the question on everyone’s mind. During a recent episode of the Boxing with Chris Mannix podcast, he mentioned that Amazon Prime Video is the probable new home for Al Haymon’s promotion.
NEW #BWCM on @TheVolumeSports: @IdecBoxing on Canelo-Charlo, PBC’s (broadcast) future, Garcia-Duarte, more; @EddieHearn on Wood-Warrington, AJ-Wilder latest, Berlanga’s future. https://t.co/P1aeMy3HF9
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) October 4, 2023
“I do know that PBC has talked to Amazon,” Mannix began. “I do believe that’s their preferred destination. They prefer to do a deal with Amazon.” Mannix cautioned, however, that an exclusive pact is not the way to go.
“I think exclusive deals have been a major problem in boxing over the years because it has shrunk the pool for available fights and available shows,” he said. “If you’re Amazon, the boxing budget for Amazon is nothing, but let’s say hypothetically they’re going to throw $200 million a year into boxing. That’s nothing.”
Amazon Prime a Good Fit
To be honest, a PBC/ Amazon Prime Video marriage, if and when the deal is finalized and the pact is consummated, would be a match made in combat sports heaven. If thought about, this almost makes too much sense.
With Amazon increasing its sports portfolio over the last couple of years, PBC could be the spark needed to increase viewership on the platform. Already, you’ve seen high-quality MMA from ONE Championship in a monthly window on Friday nights from Prime.
If PBC goes with Amazon Prime, they can use fight night coverage to promote ONE Championship events. They could also alternate weekends of action by having PBC one Friday night and ONE Championship the next.
Prime already has the NFL with Thursday Night Football and combat sports with ONE Championship, and they’re going to add NWSL soccer starting next year as part of a new media deal. Could boxing be next?
What About Peacock?
If there is one streaming platform that’s been aggressive in pursuing rights deals for sporting events, it’s the NBCUniversal’s subscription-based provider, Peacock. Since launching in 2020, the service has grown its sports catalog to the point where it now has more such content than any of its competitors.
It shows no signs of slowing down. With the launch of the college football season this year, Peacock has become one of the homes for live action from the Big Ten Conference, including exclusive rights to selected football and basketball games.
NBCUniversal has made it abundantly clear that Peacock is a one-stop shop for any sports fan.
The CW Would Be Good, Too
Time to throw a wild card into the mix. The newest entry into the sports media landscape is a surprising one, but it’s a network that’s done well in this new foray.
Earlier this year, The CW, a network born out of the ashes of The WB and UPN in the fall of 2006 and until recently, a network known primarily for dramas like Superman and Lois and All-American, ventured into sports television for the first time by acquiring the rights to the controversial LIV Golf tournaments. The network was only beginning their efforts from there.
In the middle of July, amid the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports Group, the parent company of the Bally Sports regional cable networks, secured rights to ACC football and basketball, beginning with the 2023-24 sports season, having been awarded the package with less than two months before the start of the football season.
As someone who watches college football from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to sleep on Saturday, The CW has done remarkably well with the ACC. There’s no reason why they wouldn’t be able to capture lightning in a bottle all over again with PBC.
No Saturday Lineup Beneficial for PBC
Ordinarily, this network goes dark on Saturday evenings, allowing its local stations to take over the night. With no network programming to preempt, The CW could plug in a boxing card from 8 pm ET onward and be able to win the night from an established network.
In closing, we’ve got a simple question for you: Where would you like to see PBC end up? Leave your answers in the comments.