According to Nielsen Media Research, 17 of the top 20 fights on premium cable in 2017 came from HBO, the other three from Showtime, in a year where no fight on either network reached one million live + same day viewers.
Potentially surprising: the biggest fight of the year on premium cable was the May 20 HBO main event between Terence Crawford and Felix Diaz, which goes some way to debunking the idea that Crawford doesn’t draw attention or audiences. Of course, he’s now fighting on ESPN with their Top Rank deal.
Crawford-Diaz did 961,000 viewers.
The biggest Showtime fight of the year was the Adrien Broner vs Mikey Garcia fight on July 29, which drew 881,000 viewers. Broner’s February 18 clash with Adrian Granados was also in the top 10, coming in eighth for the year. So if you wonder why, with all his struggles, Broner keeps getting main events, the answer is clear: he draws viewers.
The big one worth noting is the April 29 fight between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko. That aired live in the afternoon U.S. time on Showtime, with 659,000 viewers. That doesn’t rank in the top 20, but the 11 pm ET HBO replay the same day does, coming in 14th with 738,000 viewers.
If you do very simple math and add those together, that’s 1,387,000, which makes it easily the biggest premium cable fight of the year, and for the most part, it’s a fair thing to do. The live airing did a strong number considering its time slot in the States, and the magnitude of the fight plus the buzz around how great it had been made HBO’s replay, coming at a more familiar fight time for U.S. fans, do a good number, too.
Here’s a look at the full top 20: