OLN Partners with Top Rank!


OLN Partners with Top Rank!

OLN, home to the NHL, the Tour de France and the Professional Bull Riders, announced a partnership with leading boxing promoters Top Rank to bring professional boxing to the network’s sports lineup.  Fight Night will consist of a series of live fights promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank group, as well as classic fights from their vast library, and will air Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET beginning July 27.  “As OLN transitions to Versus, we continue to seek out sports that fortify the competitive core of the brand,” said Gavin Harvey, President of OLN. “Boxing is the ultimate statement of man vs. man and is an exciting addition to our expanding portfolio of competitive genres.”

The newly added Fight Night will showcase 12 live events per year – roughly one per month.  Wally Matthews, a veteran boxing writer who has covered the sport for two decades, and Bob Papa, who has called boxing for ESPN and currently for NBC, will host Fight Night on OLN.  Michael Buffer, the tuxedoed announcer who coined the catchphrase “Let’s get ready to rumble!” will serve as the ring announcer for the live fights.  Details of the first live event, scheduled for July 27, will be released shortly.

On nights when OLN and Top Rank are not presenting a live event, the network will take advantage of Top Rank’s extensive library of classic fights to present Fight Night: Top Rank's Legends of the Ring, hosted by Michael Buffer.  From Muhammad Ali to Joe Frazier and Sugar Ray Leonard to Thomas Hearns, these classic fight packages will not only include the action inside the ring, but tell the back-story of each match as it happened.  When feasible, classic fights will be enhanced to include interviews with the contenders, pre-fight press conferences, weigh-ins, and behind-the-scenes banter between contenders.      
“Partnering with Top Rank allows OLN to get in the boxing game in a big way,” said Marc Fein, Senior Vice President of Programming and Production for OLN.   “They have a reputation for organizing great fights and they consistently deliver a solid audience.  This new partnership gives us the opportunity to grow the sport while also attracting a broader audience to our channel.”   

“Top Rank is delighted to be associated in this venture with OLN. We anticipate that OLN will become a major force in boxing and that boxing will help the network thrive,” said Bob Arum, CEO, Top Rank.  “Twenty-six years ago Top Rank launched a boxing series on ESPN that lasted for 15 years and helped build the network into a major force in sports broadcasting. We are convinced we will do the same for OLN.”

In addition to the live and classic telecasts on OLN, fans will be able to get their fill of boxing excitement across a number of OLN platforms.  OLN will make cut down versions of the contests available on VOD to all of their operators.  Additionally, viewers can visit the network’s website for exclusive footage of Fight Night bouts, as well as highlights from each of the telecasts and insights from OLN’s boxing experts.     

OLN (OLNTV.com) is the national cable home of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Stanley Cup Playoffs as well as best-in-class events like The Tour de France, the America's Cup, the Dakar Rally, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), the Arena Football League (AFL), the Boston Marathon, AMA Motocross, Davis Cup and USSA Skiing. Now in more than 69 million homes, the network features the best field sports programming on television and is a destination for sports fans, athletes and sportsmen to find exclusive, competitive events that audiences can't find elsewhere. The network offers unique, competition-themed original programming and is the exclusive home of Survivor in syndication. OLN, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.  The network will be changing its name to Versus as of September 2006.