ESPN, Top Rank Boxing agree to 7-year contract

FILE PHOTO: Jimmy Pitaro, president of Disney Interactive, poses for a portrait at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, in Los Angeles, California June 11, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

Top Rank Boxing will air on ESPN for at least seven more years.

The network and the promoter announced Thursday that they had agreed to a contract that will run through August 2025. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The contract replaces a four-year pact the two signed last summer. It calls for ESPN to televise 54 live events and other boxing shows, including studio content yet to be announced. Boxing will air live on ESPN in prime time and on the online 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,” said Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN president and the co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, in a news release.

The 54 live events included in the agreement consist of 18 cards that will air on ESPN, 12 prime-time cards that will stream exclusively on ESPN+ and 24 “premium international events” on ESPN+. ESPN+ will provide coverage of the undercards of all 54 events.

ESPN+ also will have coverage of weigh-ins and news conferences. Past fights will be available on demand on ESPN+, which is a subscription service.

“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,” said Kevin Mayer, who oversees ESPN+ as Disney’s chairman of direct-to-consumer and international.

“This partnership will continue to bring the biggest events and best fighters from around the world to ESPN networks,” said Top Rank president Todd duBoef, who negotiated the deal with the network. “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.”

--Field Level Media