On Tuesday night, FS1 airs the latest from PBC (Premier Boxing Champions). Tuesday’s event is not a big show for PBC as it is headlined by a largely forgettable fight between Bryant Perrella and Yordenis Ugas. Despite this lack of relevance or interest, it’s a card worth discussing, not because of any fights, but because of what it represents.
Tuesday’s show is the final PBC card currently announced.
To be clear, that’s not the final show announced for FS1 or for the month… after tonight, there are no PBC shows on the schedule at all. This is a huge change from just a few months ago when there would frequently be more than one PBC event in a single week.
So what happened? As our own Paul Gift excellently laid out (link: http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2016/9/20/12983690/waddell-reed-investments-434-million-decline-al-haymon-pbc-boxing-news), massive financial loss is what happened, with the company looking to have lost a truly staggering $434 million in the past year. PBC was always a risky financial venture. The brainchild of boxing adviser Al Haymon, PBC was intended as a way to change the structure of boxing in America, moving away from pay-per-view and the HBO/Showtime dominated model. Haymon’s plan to achieve this change started by buying airtime on numerous channels including NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, Spike, and more. But the company has seen huge losses without the popularity or ratings to make it even remotely profitable.
With the company hemorrhaging money and nothing announced past tonight, the question is obvious – is this the end of PBC? Further adding to that concern is the recent announcement from NBC that neither NBC nor NBCSN would air any further PBC shows in 2016, cancelling planned 2016 shows and potentially postponing them to early 2017. (link: http://www.espn.com/blog/dan-rafael/post/_/id/16761/what-has-happened-to-premier-boxing-champions)
Spike TV has been one of PBC’s best partners, making the boxing cards a part of their Friday Night Lights Out series alongside Bellator and (formerly) Glory. According to Spike, PBC is not done, as Spike officials told BloodyElbow they will soon have news on the next PBC show scheduled for this fall, and that the next card will be “a good one.”
Regardless of plans on Spike, it certainly seems clear that PBC is on life support at this point. Tonight may not be the very end, but that end does not seem far off. What will that mean for the futures of the many top level talents currently under the PBC banner – including name fighters like Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Errol Spence, Jr., and Leo Santa Cruz? Time will tell. But any combat sports fan who was around at the fall of Pride can tell you that when a big organization shuts down, it can leave fighters stranded, their careers sometimes irreparably stalled out. We’re probably past the point of hoping PBC succeeds or survives – for now, let’s just hope their demise does not drag down some of the world’s best fighters in its wake.
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