PUEBLO, Colo. ― The Professional Bull Riders celebrates its 20th
year in 2013 and fans across the country are invited to the party
by tuning into CBS and CBS Sports Network for blockbuster coverage
of the most exciting sport on dirt.
PBR has signed an exclusive broadcast agreement with the CBS networks, which gives professional bull riding a consistent location and presence on television starting in the new year.
In 2012, PBR coverage was split between four networks, which resulted in an increase of more than 20 percent in the total number of viewers in 2012 compared to 2011. The growth was fueled by a strong commitment from CBS Sports Network, the primary home of the PBR Built Ford Tough Series, as well as an increased number of CBS broadcasts that received strong ratings.
"In looking ahead, it became obvious to the PBR leadership that this model of sharing broadcast rights with NBC and CBS wasn't in our fans' best interest," PBR Chief Operating Officer Sean Gleason said. "We felt that it was CBS which could best meet our future television needs.
"Despite the growth in viewership in 2012, PBR fans told us that they were frustrated with the split schedule, with coverage on four different networks. It was difficult for them to know which network they should be watching, at which point and time."
PBR has consolidated all scheduled BFTS broadcasts with the CBS family of networks. Coverage on CBS Sports Network will increase from 27 to 40 telecasts. Ten events will be broadcast on CBS, including eight of PBR's widely popular 15/15 Bucking Battles, the Iron Cowboy from Cowboys Stadium and two full rounds of the Last Cowboy Standing. In total there are more than 100 hours of scheduled coverage across 50 broadcasts, making PBR once again one of the most prolific sports on television.
"In celebration of our historic 20th anniversary year, we are
thrilled to be able to bring comprehensive and exciting coverage of
the PBR to our loyal fans across the country," said Jim Haworth,
chairman and chief executive officer of the PBR. "This television
pact with CBS will not only benefit our fans but also PBR sponsors
and PBR athletes, who will enjoy great exposure. Having a strong
presence on network television is the key to growing the sport to
unprecedented levels, and our new relationship with CBS gives the
PBR the opportunity to do that."
CBS Sports Network is available to nearly all households in the United States. While some PBR fans may be required to upgrade their cable package to receive it, CBS Sports Network is working hard to secure distribution in lower price tiers. PBR fans can help by contacting their cable providers and letting them know that they want CBS Sports Network in their basic package.
"CBS is a partner who appreciates what we can bring to the table," Gleason said. "They are a family of networks that had time slot availability and allowed us to go live or near live with almost all of the broadcasts that they put on the air. They are invested not only in today but in the future of the PBR."
"Extending our relationship with PBR was a priority for us, and
we're incredibly excited to become the exclusive television and
cable partner for this strong property that has such a dynamic and
loyal fan base," said Dan Weinberg, CBS Sports Network senior vice
president, programming. "We welcome the opportunity to continue
servicing PBR fans by showcasing this fast-paced, gritty and
The PBR agreement with the CBS sports family is just the latest in a more-than-decade-long television relationship that has brought the sport of bull riding into millions of living rooms and re-popularized the Western lifestyle. The television landscape, however, has changed in recent years, with fewer quality time slots available to accommodate the burgeoning PBR schedule. The CBS deal provides the vehicle to give fans the amount of choice coverage that they've become to expect.
Now on board solely with CBS, Gleason sees a partnership that will flourish today and in the years to come.
"CBS is the No. 1 network in television and they have aggressive growth plans for CBS Sports Network," Gleason said. "PBR fans that make the transition to the new broadcast home of the PBR will be rewarded with extensive coverage and the commitment and priority bull riding and its fans deserve."
Fans will be in for a treat when they tune into PBR events in 2013, Gleason said. The same professional broadcast team returns led by Craig Hummer and Ty Murray. The plan is to have the primary announcers down in the dirt for some of the broadcasts, as well as unveil some new camera angles and "fun" analysis.
"CBS is a partner who appreciates what we can bring to the table."
Two of the marque events that the PBR is most excited about are
Last Cowboy Standing III, which takes place on May 10-11 at the
Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, and Dickies® Iron Cowboy
IV from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on March 2. Both will
be featured on network television.
Last Cowboy Standing is a progressive elimination format event, featuring the top bull riders in the world against the best bulls on the planet. Each of the riders will ride a bull in Round 1. Riders who reach 8 seconds will advance to the next round, where they will ride another bull. The elimination format continues until there is only one cowboy left.
"Two days of prime-weekend sports coverage on CBS, it's a big television weekend for us," Gleason said of the Last Cowboy Standing telecasts. "PBR fans will have a chance to watch back-to-back coverage on network television for the first time in our history."
The Iron Cowboy is another highly popular competition. Featuring the Top 24 bull riders in the world and the toughest bulls, it's a bracket-style event in which two riders are pitted against each other. The one who records the highest score or stays on the longest advances to the next round. The inaugural Iron Cowboy event produced PBR records for single-day crowd (46,500) and one-day payout ($260,000) as Valdiron de Oliveira defeated 23 other riders in the first head-to-head bracket event.
CBS Sports Network will carry the event on Saturday, March 2, with an hour-long show on CBS Network on Sunday, March 3.
CBS Network will also broadcast the PBR 15/15 Bucking Battle
events, which have Top 15 riders in the BFTS standings randomly
paired with the 15 highest-ranked bulls at the event. In its first
season, the PBR 15-15 produced seven of the Top 20 ride scores,
including the highest-marked ride of the season, 94 points by
Valdiron de Oliveira on Buckey to win at Sacramento,
"These are exciting times for the PBR and its fans," Gleason said on the eve of PBR's historic anniversary. "The decision to consolidate our entire TV package with CBS will only enhance our presence on television and, at the same time, give our loyal fans all the great coverage that they deserve."
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