For all of those that believe boxing is dead, FOX Sports has something to tell you.
The network announced a four-year, multi-platform agreement with Premier Boxing Champions, including 12 fight night events annually. Also, FOX Sports will be part of Premier Boxing Champions pay-per-view events and add significant shoulder programming to upcoming cards.
“We’re thrilled to expand our relationship with the PBC in coming years and take the world’s best boxers to the next level by exposing them to the widest possible audiences across FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes,” said Mark Silverman, president of National Networks. “While FOX Sports has been invested in boxing as a key property on both FS1 and FOX Deportes, this will be the first time in more than 30 years that boxing will be regularly featured in prime time on network television.”
As part of the four-year deal, FOX will air 10 marquee fight nights in prime time each year, with FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes adding 12 more events on a yearly basis. The package also includes FOX Sports-PBC pay-per-view events, with the FOX Sports production team producing all live events and over 175 hours of original programming.
“We are pleased to continue with FOX Sports to showcase our unrivaled roster of more than 160 of the best boxers in the world, including 60 current and former world champions in the weight divisions that most excite the fans,” says Tim Smith, Vice President of Communications for Haymon Sports. “The PBC on FOX will bring the fans the best boxing and bring our boxers and the sponsors the biggest audience as we continue to pursue the goal of returning this great sport to mainstream prominence.”
The deal comes on the heels of the UFC leaving FOX Sports for ESPN beginning in 2018.
To build anticipation for each fight, FOX Sports will surround each fight night on FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes with top-level ancillary programming including multiple episodes of behind-the-scenes shows on FOX, fight-countdown preview shows, press conferences, fighter face-off shows, weigh-ins and prefight and postfight shows on FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes.
This programming line-up also includes two studio-based PBC-branded shows a month on FOX and FS1, with PBC boxer interviews and profiles. Fight cards will have televised preliminary fights on FOX, FS1 or FS2 and FOX Deportes.
“FOX Sports is delighted to support PBC fights with a robust boxing programming lineup across FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes, including a variety of prefight and postfight shows,” said Bill Wanger, FOX Sports EVP, Programming, Live Operations and Research. “In addition, FOX Sports will promote PBC events across FOX’s multiple platforms, networks and powerful sports programming line-up, which includes the NFL, Major League Baseball, college football, college basketball, NASCAR, USGA, MLS and WWE SmackDown programming.”
The move to focus more attention on boxing is one that is surely to combat the loss of the UFC. Premier Boxing Champions is home to several up-and-coming fighters, along with titleholders in various divisions.