Upstart Network Epix Will Broadcast March 19 Heavyweight Title Bout
Epix, a new premium network, VOD and online service, "will televise Vitali Klitschko's heavyweight title defense against Odlanier Solis from Cologne, Germany on March 19," according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. Epix, which launched in '09 as a joint venture between Viacom, its Paramount Pictures unit, MGM Studios and Lionsgate, is "available in more than 30 million homes." Boxing promoter Lou DiBella brokered the Epix deal for Klitschko-Solis, and Epix President & CEO Mark Greenberg said that he "liked the idea of a heavyweight title fight kicking off the network's involvement in the sport." Greenberg, a former exec for both HBO and Showtime, said that his network has "not yet committed to a long-term involvement with boxing," though he "made it clear he is very interested in it." Rafael noted HBO and Showtime "helped build their subscriber bases by offering top-level fights," and Greenberg "thinks it can also help Epix." Epix has "signed on for American coverage" of the March 19 bout, and sources indicated that it is "paying in the $150,000 neighborhood for the rights." Greenberg said that he "would evaluate how things go with Klitschko-Solis before making a commitment to more fights and, perhaps, larger fees." The fight will air live at 6:00pm ET on Epix, "as well as be streamed live on its website, with a network replay" at 10:00pm. Greenberg said that replays "will also be available on the website and via the network's on demand platform." He also said that "while the live broadcast will only include the main event the replay could also include undercard action" (ESPN.com, 2/16).