DiBella: Wilder Ratings Show Boxing Can Hold Its Own on Free TV

By Keith Idec

Promoter Lou DiBella is beyond pleased with the ratings Deontay Wilder’s win produced Saturday night on broadcast television.

According to final numbers released by FOX, Nielsen Media Research indicated viewership for Wilder’s fifth-round technical knockout of Gerald Washington peaked at 2.57 million. That amount of viewers tuned in between 10 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. (ET), when Wilder floored Washington with a right hand and the unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion eventually stopped the former USC football player at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.

The entire telecast, which began at 8 p.m. and ended at 10:15 p.m. (ET), drew an average of 1.86 million viewers. The tripleheader also included heavyweight Dominic Breazeale’s dramatic comeback in a fifth-round knockout win against Izu Ugonoh and Jarrett Hurd’s ninth-round technical knockout victory over Tony Harrison in a fight for the vacant IBF junior middleweight title.


“That rating says that a good boxing show could hold its own on broadcast television, in terms of ratings,” DiBella, the promoter of Saturday’s card, told “And this boxing show was in competition with an NBA telecast and an NHL telecast. And it out-rated the hockey and it didn’t peak that far off from the peak on the basketball. So I think it was a pretty impressive showing for a good boxing card. And I think, honestly, that’s what these PBC telecasts have to do, is to show that viewers will tune in for quality programming, even with sports competition.

“I read the release from FOX and it appears the FOX executives were pleased. But from the perspective of a promoter, to realize that fight was seen by that many people and that, in all likelihood, Deontay’s stoppage of Washington was seen by 2½ million people, I think that’s really good news for the sport in the United States.”

The Wilder-Washington tripleheader went head-to-head with a Bulls-Cavs game on ABC and a Flyers-Penguins game on NBC on Saturday night. Updated peak Nielsen numbers from the NBA game, in which LeBron James didn’t play against former teammate Dwyane Wade, and the NHL game were not available.

The Wilder-Washington peak audience also surpassed Wilder’s two previous appearances on free TV.

Wilder’s domination of Chris Arreola drew a peak viewership of 2.54 million in a fight also broadcast by FOX on July 16. That fight also took place at Legacy Arena.

In his broadcast television debut, Wilder’s 11th-round stoppage of France’s Johann Duhaupas in September 2015 at Legacy Arena peaked at 2.36 million viewers on NBC.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by WarMaidana on 03-04-2017

lets hope wilder steps up the competition next fight

Comment by AddiX on 03-04-2017

[QUOTE=daggum;17470838]when ufc on fox does 2 million viewers its considered a flop but when pbc does it its considered good lol[/QUOTE] This is true. Also UFC gets paid to televise their events on fox. PBC pays millions to fox to…

Comment by JRB123 on 03-04-2017

[QUOTE=IRONCHINHAGLER;17471318]Agreed...main event was only mismatch of 3 bouts[/QUOTE] Yeah...given that there was a couple of other sporting events on at the time the rating they got was very good

Comment by BWC on 03-04-2017

This is true. I confident that the promoters are upping their gAme though as they compete with the UFC

Comment by yammy25 on 03-04-2017

[QUOTE=BWC;17471444]PPV is increasingly a tough sale in the states. They are much more expensive in the US vs the UK ($60) and streaming has really hurt. So free TV is prob the future for boxing[/QUOTE] Some of the non-PPV fight…

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