ONE would presume that Eddie Hearn or Frank Warren generated the biggest British television audiences for boxing shows staged and broadcast in the UK. Certainly, they have the famous fighters and the marketing pull, but the British promoter who delivered the highest TV ratings in Britain – working on an average per show basis over the last 12 months – was Mick Hennessy.
While Warren works alongside the excellent BT Sport for his Queensberry shows and Hearn’s Matchroom is a long-time partner of the impressive Sky Sports, Hennessy has been plugging away on Channel 5. Terrestrial television is not particularly cool these days – when was the last time you heard a boxer declare it was their dream to be showcased on Channel 5? – but putting on a half-decent boxing match on prime time on a Saturday night, on a free and easy to access channel, is still a sure-fire way to generate big audiences.
For context, Saturday night’s Sky Sports Jono Carroll-Scott Quigg event pulled in a little over 118,000 viewers but Alex Dilmaghani’s 12-round points win over Francisco Fonseca on Channel 5 late last year boasted eight times that. And though the Dilmaghani-Fonseca bout turned out to be a thriller, it wasn’t exactly all over the media beforehand being advertised as such (imagine the numbers if it had been). Furthermore, the combined reach of Hennessy’s last four outings on Channel 5 have been in excess of seven-million; something not lost on the Warrens or BT as they recently utilised terrestrial platform ITV (broadcasting alongside BT) as a tidy segue into Tyson Fury’s box office beating of Deontay Wilder last month.