British heavyweight Tyson Fury has signed a broadcast deal under which his fights will be shown exclusively on ESPN platforms in the United States. No financial details were disclosed, but British newspaper the Daily Mail reported on Monday that the deal was worth 80 million pounds ($103 million), while the BBC reported that it covered Fury's next five fights.
Fury and promoter Frank Warren signed the deal with Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions, which has a multi-year contract with ESPN, and the agreement calls for Fury to fight a minimum of two bouts per year in the United States. British broadcaster BT Sport will continue to hold the rights for Fury's fights in the UK.
"I'm delighted," Fury said. "With ESPN and BT Sport behind me, the biggest sports platforms in the world are now linked up with the best heavyweight in the world." The deal with ESPN could have an impact on the 30-year-old's rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
The American has been in negotiations with Fury's camp over a rematch of their Dec. 1 draw at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but Wilder has a long-term relationship with rival U.S. television network Showtime. Their bout in December was aired on Showtime in the United States, and the two fighters' relationships with the rival networks could complicate negotiations over the rematch.
Fury, however, said his deal with ESPN would make the Wilder fight easier to set up. "As far as I'm concerned, the fight is more make-able now than ever, because we have the biggest boys in the game behind us," he told BT Sport on Monday.
"I'm only a fighter, I can only fight who they put in front of me. I want the biggest fights - the (Anthony) Joshua's, the Wilder's of the world and everybody else out there too." ($1 = 0.7741 pounds) (Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru Editing by Christian Radnedge)
(With inputs from agencies.)