It’s been in the works for a while, in fact, it’s been strongly hinted for much of the fall, but on the morning of Dec. 7, it was made official: Amazon Prime Video, already the home for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package and ONE Championship cards in a Friday night timeslot will become the new destination for Premier Boxing Champions effective next year. 2024 marks PBC’s 10th year in existence as a promotion.
Amazon’s entry into the squared circle comes about after PBC needed a new outlet to air its fights. Paramount Global, the parent company of the Showtime premium cable network, revealed that it would shutter the Showtime Sports division after 2023 in an effort to refocus its strategies on scripted programming.
One last PBC card is scheduled before Showtime hangs up its boxing gloves after close to 40 years in the ring. Saturday, the promotion closes this chapter of its life with a WBA World Super-Middleweight Championship fight between David Morrell Jr. (9-0, 8 KOs) and Sena Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) in the main event.
— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) December 7, 2023
PBC Makes it Official
The new era unofficially began with a statement released on PBC’s official website late on Dec. 6. In part, it read:
“Prime Video will distribute PBC’s industry-leading pay-per-view (PPV) events in the U.S. with the first event anticipated for March 2024. PBC PPV fights will be available for all viewers to purchase, regardless of Prime membership. Additionally, in the U.S. and select countries, Prime Video will exclusively stream a PBC Championship Boxing series of events, showcasing top matchups among boxing’s current and rising stars.”
No word on who will fight on the first Amazon Prime PBC card or its host arena at this time. Stay tuned for further details on that information.
A Sign of The Times in 2024
At the core, the new rights deal between Premier Boxing Champions and Amazon Prime Video is another indicator of the times we live in. Let’s face the facts: Linear television is dying out and streaming video is the casket it’s being buried in.
This is an eventuality and it can’t be stopped. How many of you reading this piece right now either are or know anyone who’s joined the army of cord-cutters?
If you don’t know of some people that decided to cut ties with their local cable, satellite or telco company, just wait a little while. They’ll be cutting the cord soon enough.
This rights deal was made with today’s viewers and consumers in mind. Younger viewers have turned to streaming providers en masse. Deals like the one consummated by PBC and Amazon Prime Video are going to keep happening.
MLS Season Pass Deal a Case Study as PBC/Prime Partnership Looms
Perhaps the most groundbreaking media rights deal between a sports organization and a technology company ever to be inked became official roughly 18 months ago. In June of 2022, with linear television deals between Major League Soccer, FOX Sports, ESPN, and Univision set to expire and league officials cautioning local rightsholders not to extend deals with MLS clubs beyond the 2022 season, the league and Apple came to terms on exclusive worldwide rights to all matches.
It’s a 10-year deal covering the 2023 through 2032 seasons. Year one of the exclusive pact ended on Saturday afternoon with the 2023 MLS Cup Final between the Columbus Crew and Los Angeles Football Club from Lower.com Field in Ohio’s capital city.
At minimum, MLS is earning $250 million (USD) from Apple per year for the decade-long life of the pact. While the partnership started out rocky and had its detractors, Inter Miami CF’s blockbuster signing of Lionel Messi in June steadied the service, reaching the critical 1 million subscriber plateau in August, just several weeks after Messi’s first match in an Inter Miami kit.
Marquee Fighters Crucial to New Deal
This media pact will live and die on the marquee fighters attached to PBC. Already, it’s looking pretty good for the parties involved.
In June of this year, the promotion signed Saul Alvarez to an exclusive contract. Better known as Canelo, he’s already got one victory to his credit, a unanimous decision victory against Jermell Charlo in September.
No word on when Canelo will fight again under the PBC banner, but traditionally, he’ll fight in May around the Cinco de Mayo holiday. It wouldn’t matter who Canelo fights in the spring, that pay-per-view on Amazon Prime will sell like hotcakes off the griddle.
They could also do well with a pay-per-view headlined by Terence Crawford. Like Canelo, Crawford is in the midst of his own three-fight contract with PBC, signed back in June to permit a dream fight against Errol Spence to take place this past August.
Just imagine the kind of buyrate that a rematch between Crawford and Spence would do on Amazon Prime. It’d be about the same as a Canelo fight on the service.
Amazon Prime Set to Become Power Player in Sports Media
Ever since Amazon Prime Video acquired exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football ahead of the 2022 NFL season, it’s been an upward trajectory for the platform when it comes to sports properties. As previously mentioned, Prime has exclusive North American rights to ONE Fight Nights once a month in a Friday evening timeslot, plus rights to select games from the Overtime Elite basketball league weekly on Friday nights.
Speaking of basketball, Prime also runs WNBA games on Thursday nights during the regular season. Viewers in the Puget Sound region get to local broadcasts of Seattle Storm contests.
PBC isn’t the only new sports platform making its way over to Amazon Prime Video in 2024. Starting on March 15, the streamer will air NWSL matches on Friday nights as part of a comprehensive media deal.
In total, Amazon Prime will present 27 games from the women’s soccer league, beginning with the NWSL Challenge Cup, now presented as a kickoff match on the eve of the regular season. The future is looking bright for Amazon Prime, and it’ll begin in a few short months.
Streaming video was thought of as the future of watching sports as recently as a decade ago. The future is now. Premier Boxing Champions recognizes this and has poised itself to be on the right side of this new sports media landscape.
This deal has no losers attached to it. When the bell rings, come out swinging.
— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) December 7, 2023