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A Lucrative Partnership: ESPN and FOX to join forces for Wilder v. Fury II

There were several key factors that led to the rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury being delayed until 2020. It wasn’t just the monetary factor on the sides of the fighters, but of the broadcasts producing their fights. With Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions as separate entities, the pride of both was not about to be taken advantage of.

Now, everyone will win. Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions announced a partnership that will involve the heavy promotion of Wilder v. Fury II. The fight on February 22 inside Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena will be a joint ESPN+ and FOX Sports PPV card. ESPN’s Dan Rafael broke down the big news, stating that the payday for the bout would have been a determining factor. A third fight would also be set, regardless of the outcome.

What does this exactly mean? Well, for one thing, there will be plenty of fighters from both sides looking to get on this card. Champions could get a chance at combining titles while dream bouts could finally be booked.

“Having networks like ESPN and Fox come together and create awareness for a fight is really unprecedented,” Top Rank President Todd duBoef stated to Yahoo Sports.

Exposure is a key factor, not just for the fighters themselves. Top Rank and PBC will do everything they can to spread the message. Utilizing both ESPN and FOX broadcasts as a platform will drive consumers towards the rematch. The fight comes just a few days after the Super Bowl, which will be broadcasted on FOX on February 2. The event, along with ESPN’s nonstop sports coverage of college football, will most likely include interviews with Wilder and Fury, TV spots and other methods of exposure.

Both Wilder and Fury have become stars since their initial fight, which ended in a split decision draw. They have been pretty busy, fighting twice; Wilder knocked out Dominic Breazeale in the first round of their bout and finished Luis Ortiz in a rematch. Fury outclassed Tom Schwarz while also barely beating Otto Walin.

While months of planning must have taken place, the idea of a joint show actually happening is shocking to many. However, with the right numbers in place, and the number of eyes both fighters get, the decision appeared to be a piece of cake.

“Both fighters’ popularity has grown significantly since that time,” ESPN’s VP of Programming and Acquisitions Matt Kenny stated to Yahoo Sports. Top Rank, in particular, has done a tremendous job with Tyson Fury. They’ve not only introduced him to the boxing fan, but to the mainstream sports fan… In the 60-day runway leading up to this event, you’ll see unprecedented promotional support for it from both ESPN and Fox. It was a no-brainer and without getting into [predicting pay-per-view sales] numbers, it feels like a different type of event. This will capture the attention and imagination of the general sports fan in a way that not a lot of fights can do.”

Tickets for Wilder v. Fury II go on sale Saturday, December 28 at 1 p.m. ET. You can grab your tickets at mgmgrand.com and axs.com.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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