ESPN, HBO pact on boxing coverage

Duo sign multiyear deal that includes major pay-per-view events

ESPN and HBO have signed a multiyear pact to join forces on their respective boxing coverage.

Deal includes sharing content for major pay-per-view events and coordinating marketing resources. ESPN will also televise HBO’s “24/7” docuseries, which acts as a run-up to all of HBO’s biggest bouts.

Next up for HBO is the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight against Sergio Martinez, set for Saturday night in Las Vegas.

The two networks are combining efforts because boxing has seen a sharp decline in popularity in recent years, and both cablers believe each can help the other drum up support for the sport. Mixed martial arts, and specifically the UFC, have won the adoration of young males who no longer have an interest in boxing.

The PPV events are a major contributor to HBO’s bottom line, and the loss of some of those events to Showtime was one of the reasons former HBO Sports topper Ross Greenburg left the network last year.

“This collaboration of efforts and resources will provide boxing and sports fans alike a deeper and more consistent look at boxing’s rising stars and established champions while elevating the sport and our collective boxing platforms,” said Doug Loughrey, director of programming and acquisitions at ESPN.