How Top Rank helped Golden Boy land ESPN dealWritten by Mark Weber
Your enemy’s enemy is often your best ally.
On Thursday, it was announced that Golden Boy Promotions landed a 2-year 42 event deal with ESPN. The deal starts March 23.
The series will air on ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes, as well as ESPN3. According to ESPN, there is an option for a third year to air more events.
A lot of people thought this was not a possibility given Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions series had an exclusive deal with ESPN.
Quite quietly, that exclusivity provision was waived by the PBC last May as part of a settlement with Top Rank Promotions. Top Rank filed an 100 million dollar federal anti-trust lawsuit against the PBC in 2015 for alleged monopolistic practices as well as allegedly violating the Muhammad Ali Act.
This provision being eliminated allowed Golden Boy to partner with ESPN. This is quite ironic given the rivalry Golden Boy and Top Rank had for a number of years, but they have seemingly patched things up as of late.
The new "Golden Boy Boxing" series will likely feature a lot of up and coming talent as opposed to the big names on the Golden Boy roster such as Canelo Alvarez, Jorge Linarez, and Francisco Vargas. Those fighters will likely fight on HBO.
"You will definitely see competitive fights and fighters who are ready to be tested; fighters who will grow up on the ESPN platform and then be ready to move to the HBO platform."- Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya said in a press release.
"We will have our top, top prospects going up against ex-world champions or prospects against prospects and contenders against contenders. This is not going to be by any means a series for us to use for fighters who just want to get a win. It'll be a series where our young fighters are ready to take on tougher challenges."
For Boxing, this is good news. The PBC has damaged the sport with there gorilla tactics of aquiring deals with almost every single sports network in the US.
HBO has slowed down considerably given their budget cuts and new PPV strategy.
When the PBC had the exclusive deals, there was almost no outlet for promotions like Golden Boy and Top Rank to air upcoming talent. They only had HBO and, as stated, the network is not as financially invested in boxing as it once was.
With the provision gone, that outlet now exists.