FOX Sports and the World Boxing Council have reached a multi-platform agreement that brings the recently created, 24-card “WBC World Cup of Professional Boxing” to the FOX Sports family of networks, beginning Friday.
The deal grants exclusive broadcast rights in the U.S., where fights air on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Deportes. Exclusive rights also apply in the Caribbean through FOX Sports 2 and FOX Deportes, while non-exclusive rights apply in the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
The unprecedented elimination-style event brings together champions from across 10 related intercontinental federations, plus the Silver and International Belts, in four weight classes: feather, light, welter and heavy. Broken into an elimination phase, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, the first 20 broadcasts include two main events and have a two-hour window, while the finals are scheduled for 90 minutes.
Fight nights take place in the U.S. (10), Mexico (10) and four international venues yet to be determined.
“The WBC closes the celebration of its 50th anniversary with the introduction of the first WBC World Cup of Professional Boxing,” WBC President Jose Sulaiman said. “The participants are champions from the 10 WBC Continental Federations, representing 165 countries affiliated with the WBC, in four traditional weight divisions. The WBC belt has been worn by the world’s greatest boxing champions, and the winner of the World Cup of Boxing will earn a WBC world championship title fight. The WBC is very proud of having FOX Sports as our home for this historic event.”
In addition to broadcast rights, the deal also covers broad new media options, including live streaming, on-demand and highlights/clips via the Internet and mobile on FOXSports.com, FOXSportsGO or any other FOX Sports digital platform.
"This is a great opportunity to partner with the WBC on what we expect will be an incredibly competitive series of events," said Joshua Glassel, FOX Sports VP Programming & Acquisitions. "Some of the best fighters from around the globe fighting their way through a 'World Cup' format certainly has the makings for compelling sports television, and FOX Sports is excited to be a part of this ambitious project from the beginning."
WBC World Cup of Boxing on FOX broadcast schedule (tentatively scheduled for Friday nights; subject to change):
• 8 fight nights from Oct. 18, 2013 – Dec. 13, 2013
• 8 fight nights from Jan. 10, 2014 – Feb. 28, 2014
• 4 fight nights from March 21, 2014 – April 11, 2014
• 4 fight nights from May 16, 2014 – June 6, 2014
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?