Welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr.’s union with trainer Teddy Atlas drew enormous publicity in the buildup to Bradley’s defense against Brandon Rios, a well-known opponent, on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. But all that attention did nothing to help HBO’s viewership.
The fight, which Bradley won by one-sided ninth-round knockout, averaged 910,000 viewers for the live, first-time airing on HBO, according to Nielsen Media Research. The fight peaked at 1.03 million viewers.
However, HBO paid substantially more for the fight -- around $3 million -- than it did for Bradley’s unanimous decision win against Jessie Vargas to claim the vacant belt on June 27, yet Bradley-Rios drew a much weaker viewership figure. Bradley-Vargas averaged 1.12 million viewers.
Bradley-Rios even performed worse than Bradley’s fight before he met Vargas, a draw against Diego Chaves in December 2014, which averaged 966,000 viewers on HBO.
One thing that could have kept viewership of Bradley-Rios down was Saturday night's CBS broadcast the Alabama-LSU college football game, the top performing Saturday night game of the year. It averaged 11.1 million viewers.
HBO’s opening bout, which featherweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko won by one-sided 10th-round knockout of Romulo Koasicha, averaged 585,000 viewers and peaked at 657,000.