Two of television’s most innovative brands, HBO and ESPN, have announced a multi-year, multi-tiered boxing programming and marketing agreement. The announcement was made today by ESPN’s Marie Donoghue, senior vice president of global business strategy & development, and Mark Taffet, senior vice president of sports operations & pay-per-view, HBO Sports.
“This agreement is a testament to ESPN and HBO’s leadership in the sports media industry,” said Donoghue. “ESPN continues to provide sports fans with greater access to events across various platforms and this agreement further extends our commitment to serve the fan.”
Taffet said, “There is a very deep commitment at HBO to grow the sport of boxing and broaden the exposure for the top fighters and events. This collaboration with ESPN will benefit fight fans that already love the sport, will attract many more sports fans to connect with boxing, and will greatly enhance the visibility of the fighters that are featured in HBO Pay-Per-View events.”
Doug Loughrey, director of programming and acquisitions at ESPN: “This collaboration of efforts and resources will provide boxing and sports fans alike a deeper and more consistent look at boxing’s rising stars and established champions while elevating the sport and our collective boxing platforms.”
The agreement includes coordinated support for major pay-per-view boxing events, including sharing programming content, cross-promotion elements, highlight packages and additional assets to be featured across multiple ESPN and HBO platforms.
As part of the agreement, ESPN and ESPN Deportes’ news and information platforms, led by SportsCenter, will have access to key content and information surrounding marquee HBO Pay-Per-View boxing events, including fighter interviews.
In addition, ESPN Deportes Television and ESPN3- the company’s multiscreen network accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members- will carry live fighter weigh-ins plus pre- and post-fight press conferences for HBO-Pay-Per-View Events, as well as additional boxing content connected to these major pay-per-view events.
ESPN and ESPN Deportes will also televise the HBO all-access series 24/7 leading up to HBO Pay-Per-View fights. Starting this Thursday, Sept. 13 at 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2 will air the two-part 24/7 Chavez Jr. /Martinez back-to-back, immediately before ESPN Boxing: Friday Night Fights Special Edition live from Las Vegas at 10 p.m. In addition, ESPN Deportes’ Golpe a Golpe will preview the Chavez Jr. vs. Martinez fight at 9 p.m., while ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna will provide updates from both camps. ESPN Deportes will start televising the series starting with the next HBO Pay-Per View event.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, at 9 p.m. ET from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, HBO Pay-Per-View will produce and distribute the world middleweight championship fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez.
HBO’s leadership position in boxing began in 1973 and the network has televised more than 875 fights in the past 39 years. HBO Sports produces three boxing series: the flagship World Championship Boxing franchise, the late-night enterprise Boxing After Dark, and HBO Pay-Per-View.
Additionally, HBO Sports introduced boxing’s first reality franchise with the launch of 24/7 in 2007. The acclaimed series has earned 16 Sports Emmy Awards in its first five seasons on the air.
ESPN is home to ESPN’s Friday Night Fights and ESPN Deportes’ Viernes de Combates (Spanish version), a weekly boxing series which runs between January and August and showcases some of the best bouts in the boxing industry. The series, which began on October 2, 1998, recently concluded its 15th season. ESPN began televising boxing on April 10, 1980 when weekly boxing returned to television for the first time since 1964, with the debut of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN.