Premier Boxing Champions has signed yet another TV deal. After signing with CBS/Showtime, NBC/NBCSN and Spike, the boxing organization led by the mysterious Al Haymon (he doesn’t speak to the media) has another network in the fold and it’s none other than ESPN.
It already has had two televised cards, one on NBC and the other on Spike both of which got decent ratings proving there is a demand for boxing. The new PBC on ESPN series will debut on Saturday, July 11 with a two-hour primetime event. ESPN Deportes will simulcast that program as well as the other PBC events in the series.
As for the long-standing ESPN2 Friday Night Fights series, it will go by the wayside with its last show scheduled for Friday, May 22. The announcers for Friday Night Fights, Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will move to the PBC series and other announcers will named at a later date.
Friday Night Fights began in 1998 and through it all, Joe Tess and Atlas became good friends. Here’s a video from three years ago where they discuss their relationship.
PBC on ESPN will take over for Friday Night Fights and all of its cards on the Worldwide Leader will be aired in primetime. There will be at least one PBC event on ABC and that will be held on a Saturday afternoon. We don’t have any word as to when ABC’s show will hit the air.
But after having boxing as a mostly pay cable sport up until 2014, the Premier Boxing Champions has widened the sport’s access to broadcast television. The only networks with which PBC doesn’t have a relationship are Fox and HBO, but perhaps that will change over time.
For now, PBC will continue airing its cards on four sports networks with each promoting the other’s events. We’ll see if Premier Boxing Champions reaches out to the networks that aren’t airing it or will be happy to stand pat.