ESPN and Top Rank Announce Mega Comprehensive Multi-year Agreement for New Fight Series
Extensive Trailblazing Distribution Plan Includes
Television, Streaming, Direct-to-Consumer and Pay-Per-View Platforms
Next Top Rank on ESPN is September 22nd
on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and the ESPN App
Deal Includes 18 Fights in Year One
ESPN and Top Rank today announced a vast and exclusive, multimedia agreement to make ESPN the home of Top Rank in the U.S. and Canada. Under the agreement, ESPN will televise live fights on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream them on the ESPN App, will stream fights and other Top Rank content on the recently announced ESPN-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service via BAMTech and deliver select pay-per-view (PPV) fight events. It will also air all Top Rank content in English and in French on Canadian sister networks TSN and RDS. The next Top Rank Boxing on ESPN fight card, scheduled for September 22 in Tucson, Arizona, features two WBO World Title Fights with Oscar Valdez (22-0, 19 KOs, Featherweight) and Gilberto Ramirez (35-0, 24 KOs, Super Middleweight) title defenses.
"ESPN is excited to announce this new relationship with Top Rank, the most comprehensive and innovative media agreement in the history of the sport," Burke Magnus, executive vice president of programming & scheduling, ESPN said. "We believe in a new vision for boxing that will super-serve existing boxing fans and create legions of new fans through the highest quality boxing content across multiple ESPN platforms - 365 days a year. Together, ESPN and Top Rank will build the superstars of tomorrow through unrivaled exposure, original content and cutting edge technology."
In the first year of the deal, ESPN will showcase 18 main events in the U.S. on multiple platforms, including television networks, the ESPN App, the direct-to-consumer service and PPV events, in both English and Spanish, and on Canada's TSN in English and RDS in French. Top Rank on ESPN content will be widely accessible across multiple platforms, including the ESPN-branded multi-sport direct-to-consumer streaming service, and will feature all undercards, select main events, re-airs of all ESPN and PPV events, Top Rank archival fights and more.
"Top Rank is thrilled to enter into this relationship with ESPN, the top sports media brand in the world," said Todd duBoef, President of Top Rank. "This unprecedented partnership offers a 360 approach to the entire boxing vertical, including live world class events, unparalleled coverage as well as access to historical moments in the sport."
Creative Artists Agency (CAA) served as the media advisor to Top Rank on the landmark agreement with ESPN. Furthering its relationship with the leading sports and entertainment agency, Top Rank has retained CAA Sports to manage its official sponsorship sales efforts, working closely with ESPN.
"The deal puts Top Rank and its best-in-class stable of global fighters at the core of ESPN's combat sports offering across television, PPV and OTT," said Alan Gold, Head of CAA's Sports Media Advisory practice. "Top Rank has consistently and successfully built many of their fighters into global brands, and now will benefit significantly from ESPN's broad distribution, sales and marketing support and outstanding storytelling."
The ESPN-branded multi-sport direct-to-consumer streaming service (being developed with BAMTech and debuting in early 2018) will be a key part of the Top Rank on ESPN multi-platform distribution. The service was announced earlier this month as part of The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of majority ownership of BAMTech. It will join a wide array of sports programming on service, including approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, college sports and more.
The new ESPN service will be accessed through an enhanced version of the current ESPN app and from authorized MVPDs. In addition to the multi-sport service, the ESPN app will continue to include the news, highlights and scores that fans enjoy today, and consumers who are pay TV subscribers will also be able to access the ESPN television networks in the same app on an authenticated basis.
"Top Rank will be a great partner with high-quality live content, perfectly fit for the new ESPN-branded streaming service we're building," said Michael Paull, Chief Executive Officer of BAMTech. "It's another exciting opportunity for our direct-to-consumer platform to bring sports fans widespread access to their favorite sporting events.
ESPN, Inc. is the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring the broadest portfolio of multimedia sports assets with over 50 business entities. Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN Plaza includes 950,000 square feet in 16 buildings on 123 acres (116 contiguous), with additional office space (400,000 sq. ft.) rented nearby. The company is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN. For more information, visit http://www.espn.com/boxing, @ESPN and @ESPNBoxeo.
About Top Rank
Innovation has been the mantra at Top Rank since it was established in 1966 by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. The boxing industry's leading promotional company for half a century, Top Rank has shaped, developed and promoted the careers of top international pay-per-view superstars and Hall of Famers, including Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Erik Morales, Terence Crawford, and Vasyl Lomachenko. Known for creating strategic collaborations between athletes, sponsors and television networks, Top Rank launched in 1980, Top Rank on ESPN which ran for a historic 16 years. Top Rank then launched another very popular televised boxing series in 1996 titled Solo Boxeo.
Some of the most legendary and spectacular events in boxing history were promoted by Top Rank, which include: 26 Muhammad Ali Events; Leonard vs. Hearns: Arguello vs Pryor; Duran vs. Leonard; Hagler vs. Hearns: Leonard vs. Hagler; Foreman vs. Holyfield; Morales vs. Barrera and De La Hoya vs. Trinidad as well as one of the largest sporting events ever, Mayweather v. Pacquiao. In addition to the previously mentioned super fights, Top Rank possesses one of the largest sports libraries, which includes nearly 10,000 fights and dates back over 50 years.
Top Rank has been an architect of the global growth of the sport by staging high profile events in landmark settings around the world, including every major arena in Las Vegas, The Venetian Macao, Yankee Stadium, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The "Fabulous" Forum and Cowboys Stadium to name a few. Top Rank has also been the leader within the boxing industry in creating unforgettable in-arena experiences for fans while also producing live telecasts which generate high ratings for our television partners.
About CAA Sports
A division of leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA), CAA Sports represents more than 1,000 of the world's best athletes, coaches, on-air broadcasters, and sports personalities, and leads all agencies in contract value under management exceeding $7.9 billion, according to Forbes. CAA Sports has completed more than $3.7 billion in new sponsorship business on behalf of its clients and orchestrated precedent-setting agreements for the new Yankee Stadium; the Marquee partnership deal at Madison Square Garden; the naming rights for the San Francisco 49ers Levi's Stadium and Chase Center, the future home of the Golden State Warriors. CAA Sports Consulting advises, manages, and activates on more than $2.7 billion in sponsorship rights deals on behalf of leading global brands and includes an award-winning experiential marketing practice. Additionally, the agency's media practice has structured and negotiated more than $37 billion in media rights deals. For more information about CAA Sports, visit sports.caa.com.