This past weekend is looking as though it is a complete success on every level for the two boxing events that took place. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez broadcast peaked at over one million viewers on Showtime during the main event.
From Iole's report:
Though the full breakdown is not yet available, Nielsen numbers show that the Alvarez-Lopez fight drew a peak audience of 1.036 million viewers Saturday. The main event of the quadrupleheader drew a 2.6 rating
The rating for the Alvarez-Lopez fight far exceeded Showtime's average rating. However, to put it into perspective, the last time Alvarez fought on HBO (not HBO Pay-Per-View), he drew 1.469 million viewers for a 2011 bout against Kermit Cintron.
There are a few things one needs to consider when really looking at the numbers and the comparisons to prior numbers both on HBO and Showtime.
For starters, the way that the timing of the two fights (this and the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Sergio Martinez HBO PPV) went on at the exact same time. So there weren't people who paid for the JCC Jr. card who switched over for the Canelo fight and then switched back to the PPV for the Chavez/Martinez bout. Which means that there were roughly 500,000 homes tuned in to the pay-per-view (per early reports of the buyrate) and over one million homes tuned in to Showtime. That's outstanding and, combined with successful gates for both fights, shows that business wasn't hurt in any visible way by the odd counterprogramming effort.
It's also important to note that, when talking about a comparison of the Cintron fight against this fight, HBO has a much larger subscriber base than Showtime. We're talking somewhere between 30-40% bigger. Topping one million viewers on Showtime is a massive success, especially given that the HBO boxing "brand" has much more weight than Showtime boxing in terms of general opinion.
This should give Showtime the incentive they need to know that they're on the right course with the way they're currently operating. They've made big plays at name fighters, they've put on solid cards and they've shown a dedication to putting 3-4 fights on TV rather than the 2 (or sometimes only 1) fight cards of the past. This allows fans to expect a "night of entertainment" rather than just tune in to catch a quick bout.