The grave had been dug, and the digging started about when PBC started, in March 2015.
This won't work…for this reason or that, it won't work. They whispered, and they screamed. And, while I was prone to saying, “Wait…let's see how it plays out,” I confess, I had my doubts.
And, for a spell, it looked dubious that it would work, as many of the juicy matchups fight fans craved didn't occur. The cash burn rate couldn't continue, could it? How big was Al's war chest?
Weak matchmaking out of the box meant that Premier Boxing Champions didn't get as much oomph off the starting line as they could (should?) have. But three plus years later, it is a case, maybe, of “he who laughs last…”
HE is Al Haymon, the Wizard of Al, the ultra reclusive deal-maker who retains his hold as one of the three most powerful people in the sport…
With the news that Fox and PBC have hitched up, with a boatload of cash being transferred into the Haymon coffer, we can assume that if Haymon isn't laughing, he is at least smiling. Because the gravediggers expanded time and energy and effort to dig the pit and they had the coffin ready, but Haymon kept plugging, and he got what he wanted. PBC stayed alive, and if it didn't always thrive, it stayed alive. And Fox thought enough of the PBC plan and roster to hand over a fat check.
Here is the release which touts some of the specifics of the deal. Haymon himself is not one to speak to media, ever, so no words from him:
FOX SPORTS AND PREMIER BOXING CHAMPIONS
SIGN LANDMARK MEDIA RIGHTS DEAL
FOX Broadcast Network To Air 10 Prime-Time Marquee Fights Yearly Featuring The Sport's Biggest Stars
FS1 and FOX Deportes Telecast 12 Fight Nights Annually, Plus FOX Sports – PBC PPVs and Significant Shoulder Programming Added
LOS ANGELES – FOX Sports today announced it has reached a landmark four-year, multi-platform agreement with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) making FOX Sports the preeminent broadcaster for PBC's top-tier championship fights featuring its biggest and brightest stars. The announcement was made by Mark Silverman, President, National Networks, FOX Sports and Alan Haymon, President and CEO of Haymon Sports, creator of the PBC series.
“We're thrilled to expand our relationship with the PBC in coming years and take the world's best boxers to the next level by exposing them to the widest possible audiences across FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes,” said Silverman. “While FOX Sports has been invested in boxing as a key property on both FS1 and FOX Deportes, this will be the first time in more than 30 years that boxing will be regularly featured in prime time on network television.”
“We are pleased to continue with FOX Sports to showcase our unrivaled roster of more than 160 of the best boxers in the world, including 60 current and former world champions in the weight divisions that most excite the fans,” says Tim Smith, Vice President of Communications for Haymon Sports. “The PBC on FOX will bring the fans the best boxing and bring our boxers and the sponsors the biggest audience as we continue to pursue the goal of returning this great sport to mainstream prominence.”
With the four-year deal, the FOX broadcast network will feature 10 marquee fight nights in prime time each year, while FS1 and FOX Deportes will telecast 12 fight nights annually. The package includes FOX Sports-PBC Pay-Per-View events. The Emmy Award-winning FOX Sports production team will produce all the live events and more than 175 hours of original PBC boxing content per year across its channels.
“FOX Sports is delighted to support PBC fights with a robust boxing programming lineup across FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes, including a variety of prefight and postfight shows,” said Bill Wanger, FOX Sports EVP, Programming, Live Operations and Research. “In addition, FOX Sports will promote PBC events across FOX's multiple platforms, networks and powerful sports programming line-up, which includes the NFL, Major League Baseball, college football, college basketball, NASCAR, USGA, MLS and WWE SmackDown programming.”
To build anticipation for each fight, FOX Sports will surround each fight night on FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes with top-level ancillary programming including multiple episodes of behind-the-scenes shows on FOX, fight-countdown preview shows, press conferences, fighter face-off shows, weigh-ins and prefight and postfight shows on FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes. This programming line-up also includes two studio-based PBC-branded shows a month on FOX and FS1, with PBC boxer interviews and profiles. Fight cards will have televised preliminary fights on FOX, FS1 or FS2 and FOX Deportes.
All PBC on FOX Sports events and programming will be streamed live on the FOX Sports app, available in English or Spanish through the FOX, FS1 or FOX Deportes feeds. FOX Sports will offer a platform inside the app to allow viewers to stream the PPV events. In addition, boxing and the PBC will be prominently featured across the FOX Sports website, apps and social platforms.
FOX Sports and FOX Deportes will announce on-air personalities, as well as upcoming airdates and times soon.
FOX Sports and PBC launched the highly regarded primetime boxing series TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and FOX Deportes in the fall of 2015, featuring PBC's brightest up-and-coming boxers. The deal was expanded to include several fight nights on the FOX broadcast network, including exciting title fights such as heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder defending his title in February of 2016, July of 2016, and again in February of 2017, plus the exciting welterweight showdown between Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero in January of 2016.
About FOX Sports
FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing 21st Century FOX's wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FOX Sports includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; FS1, FS2; FOX Sports Regional Networks, their affiliated regional web sites and national programming; FOX Soccer Plus; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports. In addition, FOX Sports also encompasses FOX Sports Digital, including FOXSports.com and the FOX Sports app. Also included in the Group are FOX's interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as a licensing agreement that established the FOX Sports Radio Network.
About Premier Boxing Champions
The Premier Boxing Champions series was created and is produced by Haymon Sports, LLC. It features the most accomplished and decorated array of international professional boxing talent across the most popular weight divisions.