Let’s get ready to tune into ESPN for even more boxing action.
ESPN announced a new partnership with boxing promo company Top Rank on Thursday that marks the most exclusive relationship in the sport’s history. The seven-year deal will run through 2025 and include 54 events a year, in addition to exclusive shoulder programming, classic fights and studio content.
The agreement — which ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said is “the most innovative and comprehensive relationship in the world of boxing today” — comes after the success of “Top Rank on ESPN,” whose content will continue to run on ESPN linear networks and the ESPN+ streaming service. The first year of the partnership included Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn, Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux, Terence Crawford vs. Jeff Horn, Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo, and Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares.
The 54 events-per-year will include 18 to air on ESPN, 12 exclusive primetime events on ESPN+, 24 premium international events on ESPN+, and undercard coverage of all 54 events on ESPN+.
“ESPN is thrilled with this new long-term agreement with Top Rank, which represents the most innovative and comprehensive relationship in the world of boxing today,” Pitaro said. “By creating and distributing significantly more Top Rank events and boxing content, ESPN and Top Rank will jointly cultivate upcoming fighters and fights, creating the stars of tomorrow while providing fans with the sport’s best content in a more personalized manner.”
“This partnership will continue to bring the biggest events and best fighters from around the world to ESPN networks,” added Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. “Our collective ability to integrate live events, classic fights, studio shows, and behind-the-scenes features will raise the long-term profile of the sport of boxing and the athletes.”
And Kevin Mayer, chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company, added: “This expanded relationship with Top Rank increases the ability of ESPN+ to serve boxing fans better than ever and allows us to continue to build more direct relationships with this incredibly passionate audience.”
Creative Artists Agency (CAA) brokered the deal with ESPN on behalf of its client, Top Rank.