As HBO prepares to end a 45-year run of televising boxing in December, NBC is preparing to finalize a deal that will bring Main Events fights back to the network, sources with knowledge of the deal told ESPN.
If the deal is completed, NBC would join several other broadcasters who are paying rights fees to televise boxing matches. If the deal is finalized, it would mean at least a two-year deal for roughly seven shows per year with rights fees in the low six-figures per card, according to the sources. The kickoff show is being contemplated for Dec. 29 on NBC in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with subsequent shows ticketed for NBC Sports Net.
ESPN signed a new seven-year rights deal with promoter Top Rank in early August to immediately replace its year-old four-year agreement. It calls for a slew of fights on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+. At the end of August, Showtime and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions announced a three-year contract extension through 2021. And a week later, in early September, Fox announced it had finalized a four-year rights deal with PBC to bring its events to the broadcast network in prime time as well as cable outlets Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes.
NBC Sports Net’s Main Events deal with boxing began in January 2012 and expired in December 2014. A series of PBC fights were then aired from March 2015 until August 2016, and no boxing has been televised on NBC since.
NBC Sports Net’s Main Events deal with boxing began in January 2012 and expired in December 2014. Sergey Kovalev and Bryant Jennings both developed on that platform. A series of PBC fights were then aired from March 2015 until August 2016, and no boxing has been televised on NBC since.
Rumors had swirled recently that Main Events and NBC were in talks again, but on Friday, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva declined comment to ESPN. An NBC spokesman did not immediately return ESPN’s message seeking comment.