Retired boxing champion Floyd Mayweather has signed a deal with fuboTV, which will create a digital image of the fighter and feature him in virtual matches that will appear on the company’s streaming platform.
FuboTV was recently acquired by FaceBank Group, which creates and manages virtual versions of celebrities. The company now operates under the fuboTV name.
“Just last week, fuboTV and FaceBank closed our merger. With FaceBank’s tech-driven IP in sports, movies and live performances, and fuboTV’s direct-to-consumer live TV streaming platform for cord-cutters, we're already making strides towards building the kind of digital entertainment company we envisioned,” said fuboTV CEO David Gandler.
The virtual boxing matches will pit Virtual Mayweather against other legendary fighters. The real-time simulations will factor in velocity of punches, reaction speed, strategy and stamina, the company said.
The matches will be exclusive to fuboTV and pay-per-view partners to be announced.
FaceBank will work with Mayweather to research, capture and analyze his face and body to develop a hyper-realistic digital likeness for commercial applications.
"My team has always been the past, present and future of sports and entertainment," said Mayweather. "Now, together with FaceBank, fuboTV and ONE Entertainment, I am continuing that trend.”
The company expects to announce similar agreements with other sports figures in the company weeks.
“Our joint venture with Floyd Mayweather and ONE Entertainment makes possible a few of the greatest fights of all time that never happened, that could have never happened...until now,” Gandler said. “ Undefeated in the ring after so many years, Mayweather can now step up to compete in the hyper-realistic world of virtual competition, challenging the legends of boxing in hyper-real simulated boxing matches with outcomes that will be as surprising to the fighters as to a live global audience.”
“If you think this is a video game, you’re wrong. This won’t look like anything you’ve ever seen on Xbox even in 4K,” added FaceBank founder John Textor. “Our virtual championship boxing will showcase the talents and technology of the visual effects community, combined with the most respected of the military simulation community. Our aim is to build a visually stunning, championship-caliber bout that positively impacts the future of fight entertainment.”
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.