Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 lands first rights deal for World Boxing Super Series
ProSiebenSat.1, the German commercial broadcaster, today acquired rights to show the new World Boxing Super Series, including live coverage of the first fight in Berlin next month when German cruiserweight Marco Huck takes on Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk.
The deal is the first to be announced by the organisers of a new series that is offering $50 million in prize money, although a flurry of agreements are expected to be unveiled in the lead-up to the Huck-Usyk quarter-final clash at the Max-Schmeling-Halle on 9 September.
Huck (pictured right) is the former IBO cruiserweight champion and will be fighting for the WBO title when he goes up against Usyk in 10 days' time.
The fight will be shown live on free-to-air channel Sat.1 as part of the agreement between MP & Silva, the international sports agency responsible for the distribution of the rights, and 7Sports, the sports business unit of ProSiebenSat.1.
7Sports has acquired media rights for Germany, Austria and Switzerland and will show fights in the 2017-18 World Boxing Super Series via a combination of free-to-air and pay-per-view formats
The new series also features another German boxer in super middleweight Jürgen Brähmer who will take on USA’s Robert Brant in the super middleweight quarter-finals on a date and at a venue to be confirmed.
However, Germany is already guaranteed to host another of the super middleweight quarter-finals when the UK’s Chris Eubank Jr takes on Turkey’s Avni Yildirim, for the IBO title, in Stuttgart on 7 October.
The series is the brainchild of Comosa AG, the Swiss-registered company, and is also backed by Modern Times Group, the Sweden-based media group, promoter Sauerland and Highlight Event and Entertainment, the marketer of music and sports events.
Only fighters in the classes of cruiserweight and super middleweight are
taking part in the inaugural edition and in each weight class eight boxers will
take part in an elimination tournament.
Given that the series is just getting established, MP & Silva and Comosa have been open to selling rights to international broadcasters in deals ranging from one to several seasons in length.
Roger Lodewick, the chief commercial officer of Comosa, said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing the World Boxing Super Series to the German audience, not only by staging multiple fights in Germany, but also by broadcasting all our fights on Germany’s leading media platforms.
“With this deal [with 7Sports], the World Boxing Super Series will have the perfect stage to showcase its excellence and Greatness in the boxers quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy."
7Sports chief executive Zeljko Karjica added: “We are thrilled to broadcast boxing at a Champions League level. Fourteen all-or-nothing fights, where the only thing that counts is finding the number one in each weight class!”
ProSiebenSat.1 made a major move into boxing at the end of 2014, signing an agreement to show fights promoted by Sauerland and replacing ARD, the public-service broadcaster. ARD was paying between €800,000 (now $950,000) and €1 million per fight, along with production costs, an outlay that the public-service broadcaster deemed prohibitive, although Sat.1 came close to matching the fee that was being paid.
ProSiebenSat.1 went on to renew that agreement at the end of last year, committing to showing a minimum of 12 shows per year in a deal spanning up to three years in length.
Fights aired by Sat.1 have included those of Brähmer, one of the boxers in the Sauerland portfolio.
Sat.1 pulled in audiences of upwards of 5 million viewers when it was showing the fights of German middleweight Felix Sturm from 2010 onwards).
Image courtesy of World Boxing Super Series