The end of an era is now official– ESPN2’s flagship Friday Night Fights is finished. In its place will be the Al Haymon-run Premier Boxing Champions series.
Along with the ESPN air time, though, will come select afternoon slots on ABC, ESPN’s mother company. ESPN/ABC will air twelve two-hour boxing shows annually, starting with a July 11 show on ESPN.
Friday Night Fights’ final date is set to be May 22.
ESPN also announced that they plan on keeping their announce team of Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas.
Names and venues for PBC on ESPN/ABC dates have yet to be released.
With this move, Haymon’s group now has boxing programming on three of the four networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) as well as Spike TV and now ESPN.
PBC’s first two televised dates have produced solid numbers with their March 7 NBC card drawing 3.4 million live viewers, finishing first in the 18-49 male demographic and their March 13 Spike TV card averaging about 850,000 viewers (twice as much as ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights typically draws).