Showtime had higher viewing numbers than HBO for last Saturday’s boxing broadcasts, which went head to head, a Nielsen ratings source confirmed to RingTV.com.
Showtime’s broadcast, which was headlined by 140-pound champ Danny Garcia’s tough unanimous decision win over Zab Judah and opened with Peter Quillin’s seventh-round stoppage of Fernando Guerrero, drew a 1.4 average rating during the broadcast. The peak point of their show drew a 2.1 rating. The live viewing drew 850,000 viewers and the two following broadcasts drew a combined 100,000 viewers, putting the number at 950,000.
“We knew that Garcia versus Judah and Quillin versus Guerrero were going to be two, compelling fights,” said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime sports. “We’re very happy that the audience agreed with us.”
HBO’s show that night didn’t do as well, but there were last minute issues that likely affected their ratings. Sergio Martinez defended his middleweight title against Martin Murray, and was slated to be the third fight of a three-bout broadcast. However, the poor weather in Argentina, where the fight took place, forced HBO to put Martinez’s fight on first, following it with Bermane Stiverne’s decision win over Chris Arreola. A wwleterweight bout between Luis Carlos Abregu and Antonin Decarie, which took place in Argentina, was dropped from HBO’s broadcast.
During Martinez’s tight decision win over Murray, HBO drew 696,000 viewers. During Arreola-Stiverne, HBO had 747,000 viewers. This suggests that many expected to tune in for the Martinez bout and skip the Arreola bout. Also, the 5:30 p.m. start time on the West Coast certainly didn’t help their numbers, which drew a 550,000 average. That number is well down from their average World Championship Boxing number of 947,000 from last year.
While Showtime definitely got the better of things last weekend, there were some factors that came into play with HBO’s numbers. Still, Judah was perhaps the biggest name that fought that night in regards to casual boxing fans, and it paid off for Showtime.