ESPN has paired up with HBO to better promote the subscriber-based network's pay-per-view boxing events and will now re-air HBO's popular 24/7 series in addition to other events leading up to HBO PPV bouts (per BoxingScene.com).
In addition to the 24/7 series re-airs on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, ESPN will also begin to air pre-fight weigh-ins and pre- and post-fight press conferences on their web-based ESPN 3 in addition to other programs aimed to grow interest in boxing.
The team-up is rather surprising, as ESPN has shunned away from covering big fights without Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao being involved. The partnership will do wonders for the sport of boxing and will likely gain more fans for the sport.
Steve Kim of MaxBoxing.com pointed out via Twitter that ESPN has been frustrated in the past that they were not able to use highlights of HBO PPV fights, something ESPN will gain out of the partnership.
Folks at ESPN had expressed frustration to me, many times, how they couldn't use highlights for fights- so they wouldn't cover it at all— Steve Kim (@stevemaxboxing) September 11, 2012
With many casual sports fans getting their sports fix from ESPN, HBO was smart to realize they need to get more mainstream exposure for their major boxing events, especially in a time when many feel the sport is dying out.
The cross-network promotion will begin Thursday as ESPN 2 will re-air the two-part Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. 24/7 series, something that could help net last-minute PPV buys for the fight that takes place this Saturday night.