Everlastâ Worldwide Inc. (Nasdaq: EVST), manufacturer, marketer and licensor of sporting goods and apparel under the Everlast brand name, today announced that it will continue its strategic merchandise, licensing and equity alliance and agreement with Contender Partners LLC, formed by leading entertainment companies Mark Burnett Productions and DreamWorks Television, involving the “The Contender,” the boxing-based reality television show which will air on ESPN in April of 2006.
The Contender is an unscripted drama about the lives, fears and hopes of 16 professional boxers as they compete for the chance to change their lives and the lives of the people they love forever. The Contender will air under the ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) banner and be executive produced by Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice, Rock Star: INXS), Jeffrey Katzenberg and Sylvester Stallone.
As part of the agreement, Everlast will be the series’ exclusive supplier of boxing equipment, active wear, T-shirts and shoes. In addition, Everlast will once again utilize “The Contender” hang-tag branding campaign for a line of Everlast sports apparel and shoes along with The Contender branded apparel which may be sold through multiple sporting goods retailers and specialty retailers.
Contender Partners and ESPN will also be promoting three Live Boxing Events. The first event will be a live fight airing on ESPN, October 15th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, featuring a re-match between the “Latin Snake” Sergio Mora vs. “The Pride of Providence” Peter Manfredo, Jr. It will be followed by two other specials, the second one in February and the third date is yet to be determined. Beginning in April, the Network will air Season 2 of the popular boxing drama series The Contender, through ESPN as well as ESPN2 and its other affiliates. Additionally, The Contender will be channeled through various ESPN original programming (i.e. SportsCenter, ESPN Hollywood) as well as its multi-media network of Internet, radio and print properties.
George Q Horowitz, Chairman and CEO of Everlast Worldwide Inc., said, “The first season of ‘The Contender’ yielded great product placement and brand awareness benefits for Everlast. In addition to enhancing our brand awareness and stature, our initial association with the show generated considerable excitement among both consumers and retailers. We look forward to working once again with Mark Burnett, one of television’s truly great innovators. We also look forward to working with ESPN, which provides a targeted medium with which to reach our key male demographic and benefiting from the promotional support that the nation’s leading sports cable channel will bring to the show.”
Added Mark Burnett, The Contender, “ We are really looking forward to The Contender Season 2 and our continued partnership with Everlast. Through our partnership with Everlast we are looking forward to continuing to build innovative marketing platforms as well as deliver creative television that will captivate our viewers on a weekly basis.”
About Mark Burnett Productions
Mark Burnett Productions (MBP) is a leading production company in the world of primetime non-fiction television. MBP revolutionized television with hits such as Eco-Challenge, Survivor, The Apprentice, The Contender, and Rock Star: INXS. MBP also successfully reintroduced product placement as an integral part of each of its shows and has garnered a total of 24 Emmy nominations since 2001. Mark Burnett was listed as the #1 Most Valuable Player by TV Guide and in Time Magazine's Top 100 most influential people in the world today.
About DreamWorks Television
DreamWorks Television is a division of DreamWorks SKG which was founded in 1994 by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. DreamWorks Television is currently in production on season three of the hit NBC series "Las Vegas" as well as season three of the critically acclaimed FX drama "Rescue Me," and the upcoming ABC reality series "The Miracle Workers." DreamWorks Television recently finished production on "Into The West" for TNT, which was the highest rated mini-series for the season with 81 million unique viewers. Other DreamWorks Television projects include: "Spin City," "Band of Brothers," "Taken," "Father of the Pride," "Freaks and Geeks," "The Job," "Boomtown," and "Undeclared.