For the first time in something like 30 years NBC is showing boxing on TV, and in prime time at that. Good on them.
Tonight they are airing Premier Boxing Champions on NBC starting at 8:30pm ET, and plan to employ such eminent people as Al Michaels to call the action.
I remember the days when network TV used to show the fights repeatedly on weekend afternoons, so I’d certainly like to see boxing come back, simply because I like the sport and want to see it regain more prominence in North America.
Some might see this as NBC’s way to counter Fox Sports and their coverage of the UFC. Others might see this as NBC’s way to jump on the “boxing revival” bandwagon in the wake of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight announcement. I see it as an attempt at filling airtime.
Let’s face it, February and March represent the absolute dog days for these networks when it comes to showing sports, because football is completely over and it’s several weeks before the major league baseball season starts up again.
CBS deals with this void by showing golf and NCAA basketball, including the NCAA tournament. ABC copes by showing NBA and NCAA hoops. Fox Sports has NASCAR, the occasional prime time UFC card and surprise, surprise, NCAA hoops. (This seems a common theme.)
As for NBC? They have hockey, the Barclays Premier League, golf, even MMA from the World Series of Fighting, and whatever else they can throw on. Boxing can surely fill their air time, not only on the main NBC network but also on NBCSN, which is truly desperate for material in their fight against ESPN and the Fox Sports channels.
So for NBC’s sake, they are hoping for a hit — something that can help them compete in the whole grand scheme of things. But above all else, they need something right now. Hey, for North American sports fans and sports broadcasters, these really are the dog days.