ESPN has signed a multiyear agreement to air Premier Boxing Champions, joining NBC and CBS as partners on the series created by Haymon Boxing to bring the sport to broadcast primetime for the first time in 30 years. The 11 two-hour annual live telecasts on ESPN (and one on ABC) will replace ESPN’s long-running Friday Night Fights series, which will air on May 22 for the final time after a 17-year run. The Friday Night Fights announcing team of Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will call the fights in the new series.
ESPN’s first Premier Boxing Champions telecast under the deal is set for Saturday, July 11, at 9 PM ET on ESPN and Spanish-language ESPN Deportes.
PBC premiered March 7 on NBC and fought its way to a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demo from 8:30-11 PM in not-time zone adjusted fast affiliate ratings. That number is relatively on par with the average Saturday college football ratings in the fall and won the night for the network.
Under terms of the ESPN-ABC deal, ESPN telecasts will air live in primetime. ABC broadcasts will air on Saturday afternoon, with those details to be announced later. ESPN Deportes will also televise all PBC on ESPN fights as part of its Noche de Combates series. Live coverage will also be available through WatchESPN.