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Tuesday, November 14, 2017
by Eddie Goldman
They finally did it. Top Rank boxing on ESPN in the U.S. this past Saturday, November 11, got about twice as many viewers as the HBO card. ESPN's card featured Artur Beterbiev vs. Enrico Köelling for the IBF light heavyweight belt and Jose Ramirez vs. Mike Reed. HBO's card was headlined by Daniel Jacobs vs. Luis Arias.
According to the Nielsen ratings listed on ShowBuzzDaily, the ESPN show averaged 1,487,000 viewers. The HBO card had its highest segment during the Jacob-Arias fight, averaging 706,000 viewers.
Top Rank stopped working with HBO earlier this year and signed an exclusive four-year deal with ESPN. According to a report by Bill King on Sports Business Journal, this Top Rank-ESPN deal is "a four-year rights deal that a source familiar with the negotiations valued at eight figures annually."
The figure of 1,487,000 would make it the fifth-most watched boxing show on U.S. broadcast or cable this year, and the second-highest on cable, only behind the July 2 Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn fight on ESPN with 2,810,000 viewers.