Top Rank announces ESPN deal including OTT service

August 28, 2017

On Saturday, Top Rank Boxing announced a deal with ESPN that will bring the promotion to the network as well as obtaining the fight library which shall be a part of a streaming service that will launch in 2018.

Taking advantage of the assembled media in Las Vegas for the Mayweather-McGregor fight, the company announced a multi-year deal that will bring boxing to the cable network.

The Hollywood Report reports the deal will create a “direct-to-consumer boxing vertical with international reach.”  It will also get a minimum of 16 fights a year to run on ESPN or ABC primetime “with a minimum of two additional direct-to-consumer live boxing cards exclusive to ESPN’s upcoming multisport digital service that’s set to launch in early 2017.”  There will also be other boxing content including studio shows, documentaries and other boxing programming.  Perhaps one of the jewels of the deal is that ESPN is getting the rights, and archival fights will be available on the ESPN OTT service.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Payout Perspective:

Thus far, Top Rank on ESPN has done well in the ratings and with more talented fighters appearing on the network, ratings should continue to blossom.  It was a matter of time for boxing to take advantage of an OTT service and this deal looks like subscribers will be able to access Top Rank’s vast fight library on ESPN’s upcoming OTT service.  The new deal may mean a shift in the business model of Top Rank as one might imagine that it will pivot from PPV and focus on its deal with ESPN.  The deal will allow for a number of fights it could take to premium cable although ESPN has certain rights to those as well.

18 Responses to “Top Rank announces ESPN deal including OTT service”

  1. Fight Fan on August 28th, 2017 3:57 PM

    Great news, espn invested wisely in boxing and the ratings have proven so.

  2. Wil on August 28th, 2017 4:40 PM

    Outstanding!!!! What a year 2017 has been for boxing!

  3. d on August 28th, 2017 5:23 PM

    It is as doomed as PBC and will mark the beginning of the end for Top Rank. They basically were run out of the ppv market because they don’t have any viable draws, and were run out of HBO in doing so. This is the last act of a desperate company. The same thing that happened to PBC will happen to Top Rank on ESPN. It is not a sustainable business unless fighters are willing to take a massive pay cut and we know that isn’t happening.

  4. saldathief on August 28th, 2017 6:30 PM

    Top rank has been on ESPN years ago no news here. So lets see boxing has been doomed and going away for 10 years according to the morons over at the UFC bahahahaha The entire UFC game is to get people to watch and buy ppv boxing is a different model.

  5. Fight Fan on August 28th, 2017 8:08 PM

    Hahah right on que, “banned” d coming in to mention pbc and do damage control.

  6. d on August 28th, 2017 8:13 PM

    FF hates reality.

  7. Diego on August 29th, 2017 5:00 AM

    I like free boxing. This is good for fans of fight sports. I hope they can continue with it, but undoubtedly they will need big ratings to support fighters’ salaries. I will certainly be watching.

    Does anyone know if the deal is exclusive? I thought Golden Boy was on ESPN as well.

  8. fbhk on August 29th, 2017 7:13 AM

    Golden Boy has a multi-year deal, and ESPN also has rights to their archive footage as well.

    But the key difference seems to be that ESPN is paying rights fees for Top Rank content, whereas Golden Boy does not get a license fee (according to Dan Rafael) and ESPN has quality control in the deal (can reject a proposed main event). It seems likely that ESPN has quality control power in the Top Rank deal, because they have a lot more leverage. HBO dates are scarcer and Showtime doesn’t buy any content from Top Rank. Fox Sports works with Haymon. There aren’t a lot of avenues for Arum to get his content out there, so this is a good deal for both companies.

  9. d on August 29th, 2017 8:24 AM

    http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/20465923/top-rank-espn-hammer-complicated-deal-bring-top-rank-fights-exclusively-espn-platforms-years-come

    Here is the article, Diego.

    “ESPN termed the agreement “a vast and exclusive, multimedia agreement to make ESPN the home of Top Rank boxing in the U.S. and Canada.”

    It’s also a 4 year rights deal, so this isn’t a Time Buy deal like PBC, however the game plan is obviously to gain exposure and attempt to develop ppv stars, focusing on guys like Lomachenko and Crawford. Makes me believe there isn’t big money in the deal, but more of an investment in gaining back a ppv audience, which in turn helps negotiate bigger rights deals.

    I still see this as a major issue though because there is no guarantee even with elite talent, these guys develop into ppv sells. Andre Ward and GGG are prime examples.

  10. Diego on August 29th, 2017 9:10 AM

    That’s the issue. The PPV model in boxing has struggled. That means this deal needs to pay for itself, rather than be a feeder into PPVs. The question is, will it be able to pay enough to cover the “salaries” of stars like Crawford and Lomachenko?

  11. saldathief on August 29th, 2017 4:35 PM

    Boxing has huge sponsorship money, also people invest in Boxing/boxers like they do in thoroughbred racing. Also the boxing fans actually have and spend money, own homes and businesses sponsors know and love that. Its a win for Top Rank and ESPN UFC fans buy monster energy drinks and slim jims Boxing fans buy cars ect

  12. Diego on August 30th, 2017 5:18 AM

    Wow, salda – that’s about as ignorant a post as you’ve ever made. Which is saying something.

    I could counter by saying that boxing fans buy Tecate while UFC fans buy smart phones and Harley Davidsons, but that would make me just as ignorant as you.

  13. Reece on August 30th, 2017 8:15 AM

    Prepaid phones and redneck motorcycles doesn’t exactly say high net worth fanbase. It actually indicates the opposite. Both sports probably have similar audiences but boxing also caters to the high rollers which is why you see the occasional Hublot and Mercedes-Benz sponsorship deals with Floyd and Klitschko or the million dollar tournaments in Monte Carlo. You will also see GGG vs Canelo eclipsing the UFC’s biggest gate.

  14. d on August 30th, 2017 9:42 AM

    “Prepaid phones and redneck motorcycles doesn’t exactly say high net worth fanbase”

    4.2 billion dollar company leader in the industry does though.

    Gate is a far inferior stream to ppv.

  15. Reece on August 30th, 2017 11:50 AM

    It’s valuation has nothing to do with this argument. NASCAR and WWE are also worth billions and they probably have the poorest fans among the top sports leagues

  16. d on August 30th, 2017 4:53 PM

    It certainly does. The money comes from somewhere. Unless your argument is that there are far more fans in mma than boxing(which we know is not the case in your opinion), then you don’t have a valid point.

    NASCAR and WWE have bigger fan bases than the UFC does. Also, tell me that NASCAR doesn’t have major sponsorship for their events.

  17. Diego on September 1st, 2017 8:29 AM

    Reece – good to know you’re jumping on the salda bandwagon. Have fun with that. The revenue going into the sport is what matters. Whether it’s from one billionaire or a billion singleaires isn’t as important. There’s a lot of investment in both sports. Salda is ignorant to suggest that boxing fans are rich while MMA fans are poor. It’s not that simple. Both sports appeal mainly to working class fans. This isn’t tennis or golf.

  18. Diego on September 1st, 2017 8:40 AM

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2013/04/22/In-Depth/Fight-fan-avidity.aspx

    Incomes are basically the same. Feel free to argue otherwise. Just bring data to the discussion.

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