Showtime announced that its 'Showtime Championship Boxing' installment for Stiverne-Wilder garnered high ratings for the network. The main event featuring the two heavyweights drew an average audience of 1.24 million viewers, which puts it 4th all-time in the network's fights, and the highest rated fight for Showtime in two years. The fight peaked at 1.34 million viewers, which according to Showtime, makes it the highest rated fight on any premium network in the last year.
Now it may be difficult to draw a straight line conclusion as to why the show performed so well for Showtime. Could it be that the American public was still dying to see an American reclaim the heavyweight title? That Wilder and/or Stiverne have much bigger fan bases than we all knew of? Could it be that it was just the first big fight of the new year? Or could it simply be that the public just likes competitive and intriguing match-ups? It could quite possibly be a combination of all of these elements, though the latter two seem like the most likely reasons to me.
Now things get really interesting for Showtime. With Haymon seemingly taking all of his fighters to NBC (but likely playing the role of merc-for-hire for Showtime) who will be carrying the torch for its premium subscription boxing series? It doesn't seem that they even know for sure at the moment. They only have one more show on the schedule at this time (on Feburary 20th) that features some prospects versus TBAs. It could very well prove to be downhill from here for its boxing programming, but maybe Stephen Espinoza can pull a rabbit out of his hat. If he's to do so, he'll have to spend less time trying to ridiculously spin Haymon's new NBC venture as a good thing for Showtime, and more time reevaluating how he got into this position in the first place.