ESPN’s morning debate show, First Take, will head to Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 24, and Friday, Aug 25, for three shows in two days leading up to the much-anticipated fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
ESPN’s live telecast of the Saturday, August 19, “Unification” fight between Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo delivered a 1.0 metered market rating during the main event according to Nielsen, making the main event the second highest-rated boxing match on cable television in 2017.
Undefeated two-division world champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward will join ESPN’s coverage of two of the year’s biggest boxing events: the August 19th Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Terence “Bud” Crawford vs Julius Indongo and the August 26th pay-per-view Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor.
ESPN The Magazine’s Fighting Issue details how divided sports fans are about watching the highly anticipated August 26 bout between MMA champion Conor McGregor and undefeated boxing champion Floyd Mayweather. The issue also delves deeply into these two personalities and what has led them to where they are today.
On Saturday, August 5, at 10 p.m. ET the next installment of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN will feature two-division world champion Vasyl Lomachenko defending his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight world title against two-time world title challenger and Top-10 contender Miguel Marriaga. The Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko vs. Miguel “Escorpión” Marriaga bout will air live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and stream live on the ESPN app, from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
In the last month, ESPN posted strong ratings for many key, live events in prime time, as it has throughout 2017.
ESPN’s live telecast Saturday, July 1, of the “Battle of Brisbane” (10 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET) averaged a total live audience (television and streaming) of 3.1 million viewers across the ESPN and ESPN Deportes networks, according to Fast National ratings from Nielsen. It was the highest-rated and most-watched boxing telecast on cable television since 2006 and ESPN’s highest-rated boxing telecast since 1995.
ESPN’s live telecast of the Saturday, July 1, “Battle of Brisbane” (10 p.m. ET to 1 a.m. ET) delivered a 1.8 metered market rating according to Nielsen, making it the highest-rated fight on record for a cable network this decade.* The WBO World Welterweight Championship main event between Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs), the Filipino legend and boxing’s only eight-division world champion, against undefeated No. 1 contender and Brisbane’s favorite son Jeff “The Hornet” Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) (12 a.m. ET to 1 a.m. ET) delivered a 2.4 overnight rating. Horn defeated Pacquiao by a controversial unanimous decision.
Two-division world champions VASYL LOMACHENKO and TERENCE “Bud” CRAWFORD return to the ring in August, in separate world championship events on ESPN. Lomachenko will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight world title against two-time world title challenger and top-10 contender MIGUEL “Escorpión” MARRIAGA, Saturday, August 5, at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Two weeks later, Crawford, the 2014 Fighter of the Year, will risk his WBO, World Boxing Council (WBC) and Ring magazine world titles against undefeated International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA) world champion Julius Indongo in a battle of undefeated 140-pound world champions. Crawford vs. Indongo will take place Saturday, August 19, at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. Both events will be televised live and exclusively at 10 p.m. EDT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN app.
A special 1.5 hour primetime edition of First Take will air Friday, June 30, on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, following the Manny Paquiao-Jeff Horn weigh-in on ESPN. The special will feature commentators Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman with host Cassidy Hubbarth in the same debate format as the daily First Take shows. Smith and Kellerman will break down the Paquiao-Horn fight and cover the hot topics of the day, including the countdown to the start of NBA Free Agency. Also, special guest Andre Ward, called boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter, will take a seat at the desk to look ahead to the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor and Triple G-Canelo Alvarez fights.