Are The Days Numbered For ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights”?

FEB. 21 UPDATE I heard that Michael King, the ex TV syndication master, was in the mix to buy time on ESPN, to stage some of his boxing content. Not so, the Cali mogul told me on the phone Saturday night. He had talked to ESPN’s boxing people, and higher ups, about doing something, but met a wall, a respectful one, but a wall nonetheless.

THURSDAY AM: I heard on the grapevine that things are sort of still up in the air at FNF.

I didn’t hear different that the plug was being pulled after I posted this two days ago. Two people told me that as of May, production with the current crew would cease. Someone else said that dates are set beyond May, so we have to wait and see.

Now, most if not all are assuming that ESPN dates are part of the Haymon Takeover. But I heard yesterday that another deep-pocketed name wants to play in the ESPN sandbox. Makes sense, if a bidding situation could break out, with people reacting to a possible new normal, where time buys are in play, for ESPN not to rush into an Al deal. I reached out to that rumored suitor and will report on that element if and when they want to chat…

 

 

Boxing fans know that the sport is in transition, with boxing coming back to primetime, network TV. The swirl of changes has been considerable these last few months, and could get that much headier.  A source reached out to TSS on Monday evening, and informed them that the plug was being pulled on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” sometime this year, maybe as early as May.

We’ve heard on the grapevine that ESPN might be following suit along with NBC, which is allowing Al Haymon to use their air as a platform for his “Premier Boxing Champions” fare.

I reached out to ESPN to seek comment or verification and a spokesman declined comment.

It would make sense, one supposes, for The World-Wide Leader to cease paying around $60,000 to a promoter to put together a show, and also pony up for tens of thousands of dollars of production costs, when instead they can make a pile of dough on the strength of their brand.

I reached out to another source with deep knowledge of the FNF franchise and that person indicated that a plan is in motion to have FNF cease, with a replacement option being Haymon content, possibly doing a single show per month.

A promoter with multiple decades in the business told me that he believes that “Al is close to making an ESPN deal.”

I reached out to a Haymon rep for response and will insert comment if one is supplied.

FNF debuted in 1998, and has been home to the talents of Max Kellerman, Teddy Atlas, Bob Papa, Joe Tessitore, and these days enjoys the talents of Todd Grisham, Atlas and of late Tessitore.

My takeaway: Scuttlebutt is fierce that FNF is going away, but until it is made official, I can’t state with a degree of certainty that is so. Stay tuned for more shoes to drop in what has already been an interesting year in these first six weeks of 2015.

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COMMENTS

-deepwater2 :

A monopoly that comes about from having a great product at a good price can be A very good thing. A monopoly that comes from back room deals that forces competitors out is a bad thing. Competition is a good thing. FNF is a solid show. Replacing that show with a pbj show , probably featuring Berto getting beat up,once a month is not cool. Another feather in tsAH's cap. Good for boxing? Let's see.


-Radam G :

Everything ends! But the coming of all this 2015 boksing ain't about to end ESPN's FNF. It would be like ending major religions where wackos and fanatics are always coming on the scene and doing dumb syet. ESPN has some beautiful violence in the fabric of fight fans. I will give ESPN 20 to end. By that time, Fifty-eight-year-old Money May would finally grow a pair of cojones and dance with 56-year-old Da Manny. Wow! We are dealing with" the theatre of the unexpected," so don't dismiss the possibilities of a a broke-arse Money May in 2035 dancing with the Prez of the P-Islands. The U.S.A. will have a Fi-Am Prez. And If I'm Vice-Prez of the P-Islands, I will ref. One of the judges will be D2. And the Commish will be a beet-juice talking head for the dance. Editor Mike will be the announcer after having Floydcott Money May for a score. The Shadow will be running Showtime. B-Sug will be the new BobFather. A-Seng will be the running the IBF. Froggy will be the head of the new alphabet-sanctioning organization FBF -- Forever Boxing Federation. The Roast will be the editor of TNSS -- The New Sweet Science. Dino will be paying out millions of dollars for TNSS's monthly winners of the best post. All the old guns of TSS will be weaving masterpieces for TNSS. And that is about the way it be then. Holla!


-amayseng :

Everything ends! But the coming of all this 2015 boksing ain't about to end ESPN's FNF. It would be like ending major religions where wackos and fanatics are always coming on the scene and doing dumb syet. ESPN has some beautiful violence in the fabric of fight fans. I will give ESPN 20 to end. By that time, Fifty-eight-year-old Money May would finally grow a pair of cojones and dance with 56-year-old Da Manny. Wow! We are dealing with" the theatre of the unexpected," so don't dismiss the possibilities of a a broke-arse Money May in 2035 dancing with the Prez of the P-Islands. The U.S.A. will have a Fi-Am Prez. And If I'm Vice-Prez of the P-Islands, I will ref. One of the judges will be D2. And the Commish will be a beet-juice talking head for the dance. Editor Mike will be the announcer after having Floydcott Money May for a score. The Shadow will be running Showtime. B-Sug will be the new BobFather. A-Seng will be the running the IBF. Froggy will be the head of the new alphabet-sanctioning organization FBF -- Forever Boxing Federation. The Roast will be the editor of TNSS -- The New Sweet Science. Dino will be paying out millions of dollars for TNSS's monthly winners of the best post. All the old guns of TSS will be weaving masterpieces for TNSS. And that is about the way it be then. Holla!
haha Made me laugh Sadly we may not get the fight till that year.


-The Commish :

Everything ends! But the coming of all this 2015 boksing ain't about to end ESPN's FNF. It would be like ending major religions where wackos and fanatics are always coming on the scene and doing dumb syet. ESPN has some beautiful violence in the fabric of fight fans. I will give ESPN 20 to end. By that time, Fifty-eight-year-old Money May would finally grow a pair of cojones and dance with 56-year-old Da Manny. Wow! We are dealing with" the theatre of the unexpected," so don't dismiss the possibilities of a a broke-arse Money May in 2035 dancing with the Prez of the P-Islands. The U.S.A. will have a Fi-Am Prez. And If I'm Vice-Prez of the P-Islands, I will ref. One of the judges will be D2. And the Commish will be a beet-juice talking head for the dance. Editor Mike will be the announcer after having Floydcott Money May for a score. The Shadow will be running Showtime. B-Sug will be the new BobFather. A-Seng will be the running the IBF. Froggy will be the head of the new alphabet-sanctioning organization FBF -- Forever Boxing Federation. The Roast will be the editor of TNSS -- The New Sweet Science. Dino will be paying out millions of dollars for TNSS's monthly winners of the best post. All the old guns of TSS will be weaving masterpieces for TNSS. And that is about the way it be then. Holla!
Not only are you eating balut and Coconut Tree Worms, Radam, it sounds like you're ingesting some "Manila Magic." Can you send some this way? -Randy G.


-The Commish :

[br] title="Are The Days Numbered For ESPN's Friday Night Fights?"[/br] Boxing fans know that the sport is in transition, with boxing coming back to primetime, network TV. The swirl of changes has been considerable these last few months, and could get that much headier. A source reached out to TSS on Monday evening, and informed them that the plug was being pulled on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" sometime this year, maybe as early as May. We've heard on the grapevine that ESPN might be following suit along with NBC, which is allowing Al Haymon to use their air as a platform for his "Premier Boxing Champions" fare. I reached out to ESPN to seek comment or verification and a spokesman declined comment. It would make sense, one supposes, for The World-Wide Leader to cease paying around $60,000 to a promoter to put together a show, and also pony up for tens of thousands of dollars of production costs, when instead they can make a pile of dough on the strength of their brand. I reached out to another source with deep knowledge of the FNF franchise and that person indicated that a plan is in motion to have FNF cease, with a replacement option being Haymon content, possibly doing a single show per month. A promoter with multiple decades in the business told me that he believes that "Al is close to making an ESPN deal." I reached out to a Haymon rep for response and will insert comment if one is supplied. FNF debuted in 1998, and has been home to the talents of Max Kellerman, Teddy Atlas, Bob Papa, Joe Tessitore, and these days enjoys the talents of Todd Grisham, Atlas and of late Tessitore. My takeaway: Scuttlebutt is fierce that FNF is going away, but until it is made official, I can't state with a degree of certainty that is so. Stay tuned for more shoes to drop in what has already been an interesting year in these first six weeks of 2015. Follow Woods on Twitter. [url=http://www.thesweetscience.com/https://twitter.com/Woodsy1069]https://twitter.com/Woodsy1069
I have heard much of the same rumbling. Al Haymon has told each of the fighters who sign with him the he intends to "shake up the sport and change the face of boxing." He is doing it fighter by fighter and network by network. My guess is that ESPN is next. As Michael Woods pointed out in his above article, why should ESPN continually pay the promoter a minimum of $60,000 per fight, when the promoter is willing to PAY THEM a huge fee, instead. It will not surprise me to see the long-running FNF disappear and then re-appear as Premier Boxing Champions. Will Teddy, Tess and Todd still be ringside. Only if Al Haymon gives his okay. -Randy G.


-deepwater2 :

I have heard much of the same rumbling. Al Haymon has told each of the fighters who sign with him the he intends to "shake up the sport and change the face of boxing." He is doing it fighter by fighter and network by network. My guess is that ESPN is next. As Michael Woods pointed out in his above article, why should ESPN continually pay the promoter a minimum of $60,000 per fight, when the promoter is willing to PAY THEM a huge fee, instead. It will not surprise me to see the long-running FNF disappear and then re-appear as Premier Boxing Champions. Will Teddy, Tess and Todd still be ringside. Only if Al Haymon gives his okay. -Randy G.
Teddy will get the pink slip and a Peter Lugar gift card is my guess. I remember when Paulie M used to rip tsAH apart, then tsAH signed Paulie and now he sings Mr Haymon's praises. Can Teddy be bought? Will he pipe down? Or,Will he be allowed to go on rants against the system and soft matchmaking? I say no way. Teddy it was fun watching you yell bam bam and try and pop Saul with lefts and rights.


-Pazuzu :

Teddy will get the pink slip and a Peter Lugar gift card is my guess. I remember when Paulie M used to rip tsAH apart, then tsAH signed Paulie and now he sings Mr Haymon's praises. Can Teddy be bought? Will he pipe down? Or,Will he be allowed to go on rants against the system and soft matchmaking? I say no way. Teddy it was fun watching you yell bam bam and try and pop Saul with lefts and rights.
It'll be a damn shame if they cut Teddy loose. Boxing needs his voice.


-Radam G :

Not only are you eating balut and Coconut Tree Worms, Radam, it sounds like you're ingesting some "Manila Magic." Can you send some this way? -Randy G.
Hehehehe! Actually I'm chow downing on some tuna fish eyes and frog legs with my visiting Hawaiian cousins. Now this is some good, healthy eating that will knock out all types of body pains amd ailments. One of your Empire State homies is now living on the P-Islands happy and healthy as ever. An Amerkano doctor told him a couple years ago that he would be dead in a year. But because of change of diet and environment, dude has reverse his aging and dying process and now he has a clean bill of health and more years to live at 65-years old and a wake up. Oh, YUP! it a lot of Manila Magic popping. Haha! Holla!


-oubobcat :

It looks like Friday Night Fights in its current format will be ending soon. With Haymon's money, ESPN is certain to change its thinking on how they cover boxing. As far as Atlas remaining, I think Haymon keeps him on at least through his (Atlas) contract with ESPN. If I am not mistaken, Atlas was invited and attended the Haymon press conference for NBC. Atlas won't change and will continue to speak his mind but Haymon will send a message that he is open to constructive critique at times.