Top Rank Chair Bob Arum said ESPN's four-year deal with the promotion to televise boxing on a regular basis "will raise all boats." Arum: "As we move away from total dependence on premium television ... the sport will be greatly enhanced." Asked if Top Rank wants to launch its own OTT service, Arum said, "Yes. We’re not giving up linear, but gradually you will see a shift to direct-to-consumer product from us" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 12/11 issue).
BACK TO WORK: On Long Island, Neil Best notes NBC NHL analyst Ed Olczyk last week "appeared in NBCSN’s hockey studio" for his "first work trip to the East Coast" since he was diagnosed with colon cancer in mid-summer. Olczyk has "worked several games over the past two months" for NBCSN and the Blackhawks’ local broadcasts on WGN-TV during his "off weeks between chemotherapy." The studio assignment was "another test of his stamina because of the travel" (NEWSDAY, 12/9).
NEW GIG: ESPN.com's Jacob Wolf cited sources as saying that Activision Blizzard is "working on a deal" to sign esports commentator Auguste "Semmler" Massonnat for its Overwatch League. Semmler would start around the Jan. 10 launch of the regular season of the OWL. The commitment to Blizzard and Overwatch "would limit the amount of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive events that Semmler would be able to participate in due to scheduling overlap." Sources also said that Semmler is "expected to join without longtime casting partners Anders Blume or Jason 'Moses' O'Toole," who will both remain calling CS:GO events (ESPN.com, 12/9).