The making of Floyd Mayweather’s millions

Carlos Acevedo examines the impact of Al Haymon and his latest venture, Premier Boxing Champions

The purpose of PBC

IN an era of media and cultural fragmentation, when entertainment options range from Netflix originals to Yahoo serials, televised sports have become something of a holy grail to network executives. TiVo, DVRs, and Video On Demand have combined to erode traditional advertising structures (because consumers now have the power to build their own scheduling), but sports programming retains viewers due to its here-and-now nature. No one wants to watch a football match a week after it initially aired. A live sporting event ensures a captive audience and this is where PBC steps in with its extraordinary gambit.

Modelled on the UFC, the WWE, and, aesthetically, at least, glitzy shows like The Voice, PBC seems intent on rebooting boxing. As part of its brand awareness, PBC has even done away with round-card girls, ring announcers, and entourages. Fighters now emerge from expensive stage sets and walk to the ring alone on oversized runways. Other than administrative infrastructure, a PR campaign designed by sports marketing firm SJX Partners, and elaborate audio/visual effects, the $425 million war chest has so far not been allocated to what matters most: the fights.

By signing close to 200 fighters, Haymon laid the foundation for a league, but what is the point of having so many professionals under contract if they rarely face off against each other? Veteran author Thomas Hauser views the matches as lacklustre. “They’ve been disappointing,” he said. “One of the selling points for PBC was, ‘Al controls everything, so he can match the best against the best.’ So far, that hasn’t happened.”

However, there have been some quality pairings since PBC launched; Thurman-Guerrero (which attracted 4.2m viewers in the US – the biggest boxing audience since 1998) and Danny Garcia-Lamont Peterson, for example. In order for PBC to succeed, it has to reach an as-yet-unknown baseline determined by either consistent ratings or sponsor interest – or both.

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