We have early ratings for Anthony Joshua’s dramatic win over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium. Showtime broadcast the fight live in the United States, and drew an average of 659,000 viewers. Peak viewership appears to be at 687,000 for rounds 5-6, which saw both men suffer knockdowns.
This was Joshua’s fourth fight on Showtime as part of his exclusive US rights deal with the subscription network, and none of his previous three bouts averaged higher than 390,000 viewers, so this was a considerable leap in viewership totals for the Brit considering the time zone difference and the fact that the US TV situation for the Klitschko fight wasn’t sorted until two weeks ago. It was reportedly the largest audience Showtime ever received for a live afternoon airing. Adrien Broner’s February win over Adrian Granados is Showtime’s best-rated card in 2017, with an average of 779,000 viewers for its night-time broadcast.
HBO broadcast the same-day replay at 11 PM ET/PT and their number is expected to be higher than Showtime’s. Final ratings for both networks are expected to be revealed on Tuesday. In Klitschko’s previous two fights (both in 2015), he averaged over 1.6 million viewers on HBO in his win over Bryant Jennings at Madison Square Garden, and 1.038 million for the live HBO airing of his loss to Tyson Fury in his adopted home country of Germany.
From a UK standpoint, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told the BBC that they’ve set a record for most domestic PPV buys of all-time.
Speaking to Radio 5 Live after the fight, Hearn said: “We broke British Box Office records on pay-per-view last night.
“We can't tell you the number last night because it's too early but the record was 1.5 million for Manny Pacquiao against Floyd Mayweather. Last night beat that for sure.”
It’s been a tremendous stretch for the UK’s boxing PPV market. In addition to Joshua’s ability to get at least 300,000 buys in his pre-Klitschko fights, a March non-title bout between David Haye and Tony Bellew reportedly did just under 900,000 buys (keeping in mind the source), which would also place it among the highest selling PPVs in the country. The next pay-per-view is expected to be comparatively smaller, with Kell Brook defending his IBF Welterweight title against American standout Errol Spence Jr. on May 27th. That fight will be held at a soccer stadium in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England.
Lastly, the German TV ratings are out from private free-to-air network RTL. In an official press release (German only) sent out on Monday, 10.43 million viewers tuned in to see the bout, with the average for the overall broadcast coming in at 9.59 million. That’s higher than the 8.91 million (40.1% market share) for the Tyson Fury fight. The 42.3% market share for the 14-59 age demographic is his best since beating Poland’s Mariusz Wach by unanimous decision in 2012, with over 11 million watching the contest. His best-rated fight was his 2011 win over David Haye, which peaked at over 16 million. As it stands, Wladimir has three fights left on his multi-million dollar agreement with his longtime television partner.
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