Headquartered in Pueblo, Colo., PBR was created in 1992 by a group of 20 visionary bull riders who broke away from the traditional rodeo scene, seeking mainstream attention, new riches and a livelihood for future generations of cowboys for the most popular discipline in rodeo, bull riding.
“We wanted to create a better product for the fans, so that when they tuned in they were seeing the best of the best every time,” said PBR co-founder and nine-time World Champion Ty Murray. “Those expectations have been exceeded immensely, and the fact that this sport continues to grow is a gratifying notion, one that supports all the hard work and dedication of every member of the PBR.”
The founders believed that bull riding deserved to be in the limelight and could succeed as a standalone sport. Each rider invested a hard-earned $1,000, some borrowing from family and friends, to start the PBR.
“This is the only sport in the world that I can take anyone to see, whether they know anything about it or not, and I guarantee you that they won’t be able to take their eyes off of it,” Murray said.
In 2007, Spire Capital Partners finalized a deal with PBR to acquire the interests of many of the retired founding riders and invest in the growth of the organization. Those first 20 bull riders had turned their $1,000 into millions.
In May 2015, PBR was acquired by Endeavor, a global leader in sports, entertainment and fashion.
More than 500 bull riders from around the world including the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico hold PBR memberships. They compete in more than 200 bull riding events each year on the nationally-televised Unleash The Beast series, Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division, in addition to those held by international divisions in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico.
For every rider, the ultimate goal is to qualify for the PBR World Finals, the richest bull riding event on the planet, with the season champion receiving the golden World Championship buckle and $1 million bonus.
The 20 original founders took a substantial gamble when pooling their limited resources to fund the grassroots operation. Yet, the risk has certainly paid off. Investors like Spire Capital Partners and Endeavor, and partnerships with Ford, Monster Energy, Wrangler, and the city of Las Vegas have helped the PBR annually award more than $10 million.
The success of PBR has made it one of the most prolific sports on television. The premier series is televised weekly on CBS Sports, CBS Sports Network and networks around the world. Several times in 2020, PBR was the second most-watched sport on television, trailing only the NFL. In 2019 PBR extended its broadcast relationship with the network inking an agreement ensuring CBS will remain PBR’s television home the next 10 years. Additionally, RidePass, the league’s 24/7 over-the-top (OTT) digital network launched in 2018 brings every moment of elite tour action to fans as well as the Velocity Tour, Global Cup and marquee rodeo events.
Collectively, PBR broadcasts reach 250MM households in more than 20 countries, and RidePass brings its growing subscriber base more than 150 rodeo and PBR events live and on-demand.
On social media, from January through November 2020, PBR generated more than 1.7 billion impressions on social media, 606 million video views and 629 million video minutes viewed. PBR’s channels are recognized to have among the most fan engagement of all major sports.