ESPN hails ‘historic’ Top Rank deal

US sports broadcaster ESPN has signed a seven-year rights deal with boxing promoter Top Rank in what it claims is the most comprehensive and exclusive rights agreement in the history of the sport.

The contract runs from 2018 to 2025 and includes 54 events per year, as well as a full offering of exclusive shoulder programming, classic fights and studio content.

Top Rank on ESPN content will air on ESPN linear networks or stream on ESPN+, the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service operated by ESPN and parent company Disney.

ESPN said the new agreement is the result of the “huge success” of the first year of Top Rank on ESPN series. The exclusive live event breakdown per year includes 18 events on ESPN; 12 exclusive, prime time events on ESPN+; 24 premium international events on ESPN+ and undercard coverage of all 54 events on ESPN+.

Subscribers to ESPN+ will also have access to a variety of new and existing boxing content throughout the year. Boxing news, information, and opinion will also appear across ESPN platforms and new programs will be developed and announced at a later date.

Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN president and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, said: “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.

“By creating and distributing significantly more Top Rank events and boxing content, ESPN and Top Rank will jointly cultivate upcoming fighters and fights, creating the stars of tomorrow while providing fans with the sport’s best content in a more personalised manner.”

The deal with ESPN was brokered by Creative Artists Agency on behalf of its client, Top Rank.