ESPN To Enter Pay-Per-View Boxing Realm


NEW YORK, NY (October 21, 2004) – It was announced today by ESPN Senior Vice President of Interactive Sales Matt Murphy and ESPN Senior Vice President of Programming John Wildhack, that Main Events CEO Kathy Duva has joined forces with ESPN to add a premier monthly boxing series within ESPN2 Friday Night Fights in 2005 and feature two pay-per-view events.

The partnership calls for world-class fighters in world-class bouts on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights. The highly-anticipated series will begin with a “special edition” on November 4 when boxing’s hottest young star, WBA lightweight champion Juan Diaz (25-0, 12 KO’s), defends his crown against WBA #1 ranked contender Julien Lorcy (56-3-2, 40 KO’s) in a 12-round main event bout from the SBC Center in San Antonio, TX.

“ESPN’s unique ability to cross-promote across our numerous multi-media platforms will benefit the entire boxing community, as well as our affiliates in their pay-per-view marketing efforts,” said ESPN’s Murphy.

ESPN’s Wildhack added, “We feel we can capitalize on the popularity of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights, whose ratings were up significantly this year, by getting into boxing pay-per-view at this time. Creating pay-per-view events and producing world-class bouts for our ESPN2 Friday Night Fights series allows us to better serve our viewers and help grow a new generation of boxers.”

Kathy Duva of Main Events said, “We are delighted with ESPN’s commitment to energize the sport of boxing. ESPN has influenced the popularity of other sports, and now it’s boxing’s turn.”

ESPN PPV includes ESPN Game Plan, a college football season package; ESPN Full Court, a college basketball season package; ESPN Fantasy Football Forecast; and pay-per-view events such as ESPN College Grand Slam, K-1 martial arts programs, and movies produced by ESPN Original Entertainment.

Main Events, during the past 26 years, has promoted matches televised on all major broadcast and cable networks, as well as on pay-per-view. Boxers currently under contract to Main Events include WBA lightweight champion Juan Diaz, U.S. Silver Medalist and undefeated #1 ranked featherweight contender Ricardo “Rocky” Juarez, WBO-interim welterweight champion Kermit Cintron, and heavyweight contender Dominick Guinn.

Boxing has been a staple at ESPN, which televised its first card April 10, 1980, just seven months after the network launched. Throughout the past quarter century, some of boxing’s biggest names have appeared on ESPN and ESPN2, including Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Oscar De La Hoya, Alexis Arguello, Ray Mancini, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, James Toney, Kostya Tszyu, Buddy McGirt and Hector Camacho.

ESPN Deportes will be a beneficiary and also an integral part of this new agreement, with fights appearing on the network.

ESPN International, through its networks and syndication, distributes ESPN2 Friday Night Fights to more than 127 million homes in 150 countries and territories around the world.