EDITOR’S NOTE: VP, Programming and Acquisitions, ESPN, Matt Kenny leads all business activities for Combat Sports and sets the strategy to help maximize its audience and revenue across platforms. Kenny also leads future rights negotiations and serves as the day-to-day point of contact for rights holders, such as UFC and Top Rank, and internal stakeholders. He discusses the ESPN and Fox Sports’ historic presentation of Wilder-Fury II (Saturday, FOX Sports PPV and ESPN+ PPV, starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
LAS VEGAS – ESPN and Top Rank have an extensive history, which spans nearly 40 years (they first collaborated in 1980, just one year after the launch of ESPN). In 2017 they began their newest chapter together, a groundbreaking, seven-year agreement with a singular goal: better serve boxing fans.
Nearly three years into the agreement we’ve been bringing great fights to ESPN networks, ESPN+ and PPV.
Saturday night, in a historic and unprecedented collaboration, ESPN joins forces with FOX Sports to bring fans a PPV presentation of Wilder-Fury II.
Sports media companies can be as competitive as the athletes they cover — which benefits fans with coverage and approaches that evolve, improve and innovate. It’s long been known how competitive boxing promoters can be. Those combine to make the backstory to tomorrow’s main event even more remarkable.Two promoters and two media companies, collaborating in effective and unprecedented ways to bring fans, arguably, the most anticipated heavyweight title fight in a generation.
Just when you think you have seen it all in this business, you realize you haven’t.
The collection of talent — in front of and behind the scenes – that has been jointly assembled reflects of how unique and significant the partnership on this fight is. The joint presentation of Wilder-Fury II will feature a quartet of former champions and current ESPN and FOX Sports analysts, coming together to bring this event to fans.
Since Monday, dedicated teams have been on site in Las Vegas for fight week, with wall-to-wall coverage from the MGM Grand and MGM Grand Garden Arena. By fight night, fans will have met both fighters through exclusive in-depth and extensive story-telling including interviews with both fighters, historical features on the heavyweight division, pieces voiced by two-time Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali, a special Ring Science, a riveting ESPN E:60 with Jeremy Schaap interviewing Fury and much more.
Saturday, the main event will be available to sports fans across wide array of PPV touch points, including ESPN+ and traditional PPV platforms, and the fight will no doubt bring fans into many restaurants, bars and closed circuit viewing locations in Las Vegas and across the country.
Saturday will be a magical night for sports fans. We’re proud of the role we’re playing in bringing this moment to fans and thankful for the contributions from so many to make this historic event happen.