As had been rumored for weeks, Premier Boxing Champions made it official on Thursday morning- their new home for their fight series will be Amazon Prime Video starting in January.
PBC released a statement detailing their reasons and excitement for moving exclusively to a streaming service. It said in part.
Premier Boxing Champions Announce New Amazon Deal
— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) December 7, 2023
New Deal Between Premier Boxing Champions and Amazon
“Today, Prime Video and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) announced a landmark, multiyear rights agreement to deliver viewers the boxing industry’s most significant events, providing fans with year-round access to the best matchups featuring the biggest stars in boxing.
PBC features over 150 active fighters across various weight divisions, including top contenders and current world champions. Since its debut in 2015, PBC has presented the biggest mega-events in the sport of boxing, including 2023 blockbusters David Benavidez vs. Caleb Plant, Gervonta “Tank” Davis vs. Ryan Garcia, Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford, and Canelo Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo. The addition of a world-class sports property like PBC is another one of the many benefits that come with Prime, which provides unparalleled savings, convenience, and entertainment, all in a single membership.
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. Details on specific cards, dates, and locations will be announced at a later date. In addition to the live PBC events, Prime Video will continue to grow its Original sports content offerings, with behind-the-scenes PBC docuseries, live weigh-ins, as well as on-demand access to previous events, highlights, archival footage, and more.”
Demise of Showtime Led to This
PBC had been doing business in 2023 exclusively, including for their pay-per-view broadcasts with the Showtime network. However, the parent company of Showtime, Paramount, extinguished the sports division at the end of this calendar year. This despite “Showtime Championship Boxing” having a 37-year, award-winning legacy of broadcasting dozens and dozens of massive world title fights with numerous hall of fame fighters.
PBC/Showtime’s final PPV together was David Benavidez’s blitzing of Demetrius Andrade last month in Las Vegas. They will broadcast the final PBC show on December 16th featuring super middleweight contender David Morrell headlining from Minneapolis, MN.
This essentially made Al Haymon’s organization a “broadcasting rights free agent” and after shopping around for the best partner, they have chosen Amazon Prime.
Amazon Has Potential
For their part, Amazon is in the second year of an agreement with the National Football League for live original game broadcasts on Thursday nights, which have grown considerably in audience in 2023. However, the NFL is a “Goliath” in terms of interest and viewership across the board, including on network over-the-air TV. That’s something that a niche sport like boxing cannot expect to come close to replicating.
Premier Boxing Champions previously had a network television deal for several years with Fox Sports, including pay-per-views, that ended at the end of 2022.
As their release mentions stars like Canelo, Crawford, Wilder, etc., they’re certainly is some marketability for PBC, but make no mistake, it will be a real challenge for them to accumulate an audience on a streaming service. This is true when so many hundreds of thousands, if not millions of fight fans are used to watching their programming on Fox or Showtime through a cable or satellite box or an app not related to Amazon, which is largely a shopping service.
As the release also states, PBC has the right – to offer its pay-per-views in other ways and platforms. This is, including potentially through “In Demand” and a sponsor of ours on Big Fight Weekend, PPV.com, which does not require subscriptions to view the pay-per-views.
It’s not clear – from the release what date the PBC/Amazon broadcasts will begin, but it is believed there will be one in January. And, it will be interesting to see if Amazon will utilize some of the outstanding Showtime production crew and announcers like Mauro Ranallo, Al Bernstein and Abner Mares, etc. to call their fights.