ESPN and Top Rank have partnered on an exclusive multi-year, multi-platform boxing distribution deal, the two parties announced Saturday in Las Vegas.
The extensive agreement calls for ESPN to distribute Top Rank boxing events across television, streaming, direct to consumer and pay-per-view platforms, including ESPN’s recently announced OTT service set to debut in 2018, according to the parties.
ESPN and Top Rank will kick off its deal on Sept. 22 with title fights from featherweight champion Oscar Valdez and super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez.
ESPN and Top Rank earlier this month teamed to televise championship fights for Vasyl Lomachenko (Aug. 5) and Terence Crawford (Aug. 19). The Crawford/Julius Indongo main event averaged 1.2 million viewers on ESPN, according to the network.
“ESPN is excited to announce this new relationship with Top Rank, the most comprehensive and innovative media agreement in the history of the sport,” Burke Magnus, executive vice president of programming & scheduling, ESPN said in a statement. “We believe in a new vision for boxing that will super-serve existing boxing fans and create legions of new fans through the highest quality boxing content across multiple ESPN platforms - 365 days a year. Together, ESPN and Top Rank will build the superstars of tomorrow through unrivaled exposure, original content and cutting-edge technology.”
ESPN will showcase 18 main events in the first year of the deal, said the network. In addition, ESPN will feature all undercards, select main events, re-airs of all ESPN and PPV events and Top Rank archival fights across multiple platforms.
"Top Rank is thrilled to enter into this relationship with ESPN, the top sports media brand in the world," said Todd duBoef, President of Top Rank. "This unprecedented partnership offers a 360 approach to the entire boxing vertical, including live world class events, unparalleled coverage as well as access to historical moments in the sport."
R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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