Tyson Fury has continued his astonishing return to world heavyweight boxing after signing a television deal worth £80 million.
His promoter Frank Warren has agreed for the next series of Fury’s fights to be shown on ESPN in the United States.
Warren, 66, made the deal through legendary promoter and old friend Bob Arum. The news was released at the BT Sport headquarters, who will still be eligible to show the fight live on their own pay-per-view events in the UK as they did with his remarkable fight with Deontay Wilder.
But America will now too be able to see the Gypsy King in action on the USA Sports channel as he looks to finally arrange the highly anticipated rematch against the Bronze Bomber.
The deal will serve as a huge financial boost to Fury and his team, but questions have arisen which may suggest the deal is doing more harm than good.
In fact, the deal with the American sports broadcasting giants may have made the rematch even harder to obtain.
Wilder is firmly contracted to a deal with ESPN’s biggest rival channel named Showtime. This means that two of the biggest sports broadcasters in America will be contracted to showcase the fight. How is this possible? That part isn’t too clear yet.
All it means at the moment is that we may have to wait even longer for the fight to be announced- as if we haven’t waited long enough. It is just another hurdle that both teams will have to overcome.
And it isn’t just the Wilder fight that has been put under more pressure because of the deal.
Anthony Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn have subscribed with DAZN streaming network who will be showing Joshua’s next fight against Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden on June 1. That makes three rival broadcasters and three heavyweight fighters.
Fury has made it very clear that he wants both fights more than anything but has agreed to a deal that only complicates the already very problematic heavyweight boxing scene.
Despite all the doubt that has clouded over his future fights, Fury has claimed that he is completely happy with the deal.
He said: “I'm delighted that Frank and Queensberry Promotions have teamed up with Top Rank to promote my fights in America. 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!”
Warren also commended his deal and stated that the agreement will turn Fury from a British star to a ‘global star.’
“By partnering up with ESPN and Top Rank in America, we're giving Tyson the opportunity to perform on the biggest and most powerful platforms on both sides of the Atlantic and become a truly global star,” said Warren.
Today, both Warren and Fury have put on a press conference to talk about the deal. In it, both have addressed the issue of the Wilder fight.
First, Warren said: “Tyson wants it, we all want it, and now we've got to make it happen. It's a different situation now, Showtime's not the only game in town, it's changed dramatically and it's up to us now to sit down and get it over the line.”
Then, Fury added: “I trained hard, it was what I wanted, everyone in my team said not to do it. I spoke to Billy Joe Saunders and he said it's a dare to be great move. Who would have thought after two fights against low-level opposition that I could come back on that level?”
On the small matter of the current British World Champion, Warren said: “We tried to make the fight. It's a 50-50 fight, they tried to keep all the money. No one approached us to try and make the fight at all... We're on a bigger platform now with more subscribers. They're going to have to come to us now.”
Fury was a lot less political than his promoter. “Am I going to cry if the Joshua fight never happens? No.”
The self-acclaimed ‘big-three’ all hold rights in different TV deals which may cause huge issues whenever they actually decide to make the fights happen.
It isn’t impossible for ESPN, DAZN and Showtime to agree deals when the fights come but it is by no means an ideal scenario.