ESPN, Top Rank expand partnership by adding 12 more cards

There will be even more Top Rank boxing events coming to ESPN as part of its long-term agreement with the network.

In addition to the cards being televised on ESPN on a regular basis since the deal began in July, Top Rank and the network have amended their agreement to add another 12 cards that will stream exclusively on the ESPN+ subscription app that is due to launch this spring.

Jimmy Pitaro, the new president of ESPN and the co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, made the announcement at a town hall with staff on Wednesday at company headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

About midway through the hourlong program, Pitaro said, "Now is a pretty good time to make an announcement. We have closed an amendment to our partnership with Top Rank Boxing where we will now have exclusive access to stream 12 very, very high quality cards as a part of the ESPN+ app. That will include the upcoming [Terence] Crawford-[Jeff] Horn fight. This is going to be very, very impactful to the ESPN+ experience. We couldn't be more excited. It's really, really good news for us."

Top Rank president Todd duBoef declined to comment to ESPN on Pitaro's announcement other than to confirm the plans.

Crawford vacated the undisputed junior welterweight world title after unifying all four major 140-pound belts on Aug. 19 in order to move up to the welterweight division to challenge Horn for the welterweight belt he won by controversial decision from Manny Pacquiao last July.

The fight was supposed to take place April 14 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, but Crawford suffered a right hand injury in training last week, and Wednesday the fight was postponed. When it is rescheduled, probably for late May or early June, it still could be exclusive to the ESPN+ app.

ESPN+ will be ESPN's first-ever multisport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service. For $4.99 a month, subscribers will receive thousands of live college and professional sports events, including MLB, NHL and MLS games, college sports, boxing, golf, tennis, international rugby and cricket not available on ESPN's linear TV or digital networks. There will also be on-demand content and original programming.