During the playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, a commercial aired putting millions of viewers on notice that boxing was coming to NBC in March 2015.
As reported a while back, a multi-fight deal had been on the table between Al Haymon and NBC. It was reported that the deal would be something in the neighborhood of $20 million for approximately 24 fight dates. Based on yesterday’s commercial, the deal is done.
Al Haymon’s boxing roster reads as “Who’s Who” list in the sport, lead by #1 pound for pound fighter Floyd Mayweather. Haymon has a stable of over 130 boxers and that makes him a serious power player in the sport.
Rumor has it that Haymon has promised NBC that he will take his fighters off of premium cable (HBO/Showtime) and pay-per view and create a boxing network of sorts via NBC and its various outlets.
While it sounds great if we can have a Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, or Omar Figueroa defend their titles on free television, I’m still a bit skeptical. Boxing networks have been attempted in the past and have failed. However this is a different approach and a different era in boxing. We’ll have to see how it plays out.
I’m okay if a Danny Garcia is going to defend against, let’s say, a Ruslan Provodnikov. Or if Adonis Stevenson attempts to unify for undisputed status against the winner of Sergey Kovalev and Jean Pascal. However, if you give me a matchup of Adonis Stevenson and someone not named Kovalev or Pascal or even worse, another Garcia/Salka type of deal- I’ll pass.
Fans, what’s the point of moving big names to network television just to enrage new boxing fans with mismatches? The idea in my opinion is to allow NBC to lure new or at worse casual boxing fans in and to KEEP them watching.
My guess is that since the kickoff boxing card is slated for March, and if Haymon chose a highly rated NBC playoff game as a teaser, then there is more to follow. Hmm… Let’s see. The Super Bowl is on NBC also, right? Could we see a commercial during the Super Bowl? My money is on it.
I hope this works because it will be great for boxing. Once CBS and ABC sees that it works, guess what they’ll do? They’ll start adding boxing to their networks too. If it does good ratings on NBC, then the other networks will want a piece of that pie.