SBJ/April 8-14, 2013/Media

Deal gives Golden Boy slot on FS1 schedule

The launch of Fox Sports 1 in August will mean a larger, more consistent platform for boxing promoter Golden Boy through June 2015, with an option for 2016.

The two sides completed the deal last week. Specific financials were not revealed, but the package’s level of fights indicates rights fees in the range of $100,000 per show. Golden Boy already has secured Corona as lead sponsor of the series, with a prime position on the ring mat and commercials airing during the broadcast.

Golden Boy will play a big part in FS1’s launch weekend. The network launches Aug. 17, and it plans to carry its first boxing event Aug. 19.

That is part of a deal that will see FS1 carry a Monday night boxing series 24 times a year. The deal, which is expected to be announced this week, also calls for Fox Deportes to carry 24 Saturday night events from Mexico.

Fox Deportes also will carry Spanish-language telecasts of the shows that air on FS1, increasing its menu of live Golden Boy shows from 36 to 48.

“With a new 24-hour, seven-day-a-week network, we need quality content,” said Patrick Crakes, senior vice president of programming and research for Fox Sports. “We already have an established relationship with Golden Boy. This is an opportunity for us to go deeper with them.”

Golden Boy’s previous deal with Fox Sports Media Group, signed last April, gave the promoter a dozen U.S.-based shows divided between Fuel and Fox Sports Net. The FSN shows, though, frequently aired on delay and were carried in less-desirable time slots because of scheduling conflicts with FSN’s local team partners.

Fox has plans to rebrand Fuel into an all-sports channel called Fox Sports 2, sources say.

“In boxing we have struggled with the lack of regularly scheduled, prime-time shows where we can showcase the next generation of stars,” said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy. “You do have boxing on the air, but other than [ESPN’s] ‘Friday Night Fights,’ most of the shows are buried in time slots where it feels more like filler programming than actual, important content.

“Prime time, on Monday nights, we will have a platform where we can identify and showcase the talent and find out who has the charisma and give those fighters exposure. This is a huge deal for us, and for boxing.”

FS1 also is making a big bet on mixed martial arts programming. It will carry a UFC event from Boston on its launch night, Aug. 17. Boxing and MMA will not share programming time on the network, but Fox executives hope they can complement each other.

“Combat sports, in general, is on the rise, and we’re going to ride that wave as far as we can,” Crakes said.

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