Adrien Broner brought more viewers to Showtime than other boxers once again Saturday night.
Nielsen Media Research statistics released Tuesday indicated Showtime’s tripleheader that featured Broner and Jovanie Santiago produced higher viewership than any of the premium cable network’s first seven telecasts on Saturday nights since it brought boxing back to its airwaves August 1. Showtime didn’t televise live boxing for the 4½ months prior to August 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Broner’s unanimous-decision victory over Santiago in their 12-round welterweight fight drew an average audience of 288,000 from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Viewership peaked at 304,000 during the Broner-Santiago bout, Broner’s first fight in more than two years.
Viewership figures tracked by Nielsen do not include streaming, which accounts for a significant number of viewers for Showtime and competing boxing platforms, namely ESPN and FOX. ViacomCBS, the parent company of Showtime and BoxingScene.com, does not regularly release streaming viewership numbers.
The first three-plus rounds of Broner-Santiago, which began at 11:34 p.m. ET, aired at the same time as the final few rounds of ESPN’s main event, Oscar Valdez’s 10th-round knockout of favored ex-champion Miguel Berchelt in their WBC super featherweight title fight.
According to Nielsen, the Valdez-Berchelt fight averaged approximately 895,000 viewers and was watched by a peak audience of 960,000. ESPN, a basic cable channel, has north of 50 million more subscribers than Showtime.
Cincinnati’s Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) also faced an unknown, unproven opponent in Santiago (14-1-1, 10 KOs). Puerto Rico’s Santiago tested Broner, though, and seemingly was more competitive than two judges thought (117-110, 116-111, 115-112).
The previous “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event – Stephen Fulton’s 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat of Angelo Leo in a WBO junior featherweight title fight – drew considerably lower average viewership than Broner-Santiago (157,000) on January 23.
Broner’s previous appearance on Showtime, a 12-round majority draw with Jessie Vargas in April 2018, attracted a peak audience of 869,000 and averaged 782,000.
In the bout before Broner’s draw versus Vargas, his 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to Mikey Garcia in July 2017 was watched by an even bigger audience (peak: 937,000; average: 881,000). Five months earlier, Broner’s 10-round, split-decision victory over Adrian Granados also produced strong viewership in February 2017 (peak: 859,000; average: 779,000).
Broner’s bout before he fought Santiago – another 12-round points loss to Manny Pacquiao – headlined a Showtime Pay-Per-View event in January 2019. Prior to beating Santiago, Broner hadn’t fought in the two years since Pacquiao defeated him.
The first two fights Showtime televised Saturday night drew fewer viewers than the main event between Broner and Santiago.
The 12-round opener, in which Robert Easter Jr. (22-1-1, 14 KOs) defeated Ryan Martin (24-2, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision in a junior welterweight bout, averaged 234,000 viewers and peaked at 273,000. Showtime’s second 12-rounder Saturday night, a unanimous-decision win for Otto Wallin (22-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC) over Dominic Breazeale (20-3, 18 KOs), drew an average audience of 272,000 and a peak audience of 291,000.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.