Boxing promoter Top Rank has announced Brian Kelly, who has spent much of the last decade with Bleacher Report and its parent company, Turner Broadcasting, will join the company in a newly created chief revenue officer role.
“Top Rank has long been boxing’s most innovative and forward-thinking promotional firm, and I am truly excited for the opportunity to help expand their corporate footprint,” Kelly said in a statement. “Top Rank on ESPN has ushered boxing back into the mainstream consciousness, and with a calculated go-to-market strategy, Top Rank will be well-positioned for future growth.”
As the media landscape continues to change, Kelly will be tasked with cultivating strategic corporate partnerships for Top Rank.
Kelly worked for Bleacher Report when it launched in 2010 and assisted with implementing a monetization and marketing strategy before the site was acquired by Turner in August 2012. He transitioned to director and vice president of West Coast ad sales and integrated sports ad sales for Turner before returning to Bleacher Report in 2017. Upon his return, he forged partnerships with global brands like Adidas, Gatorade and AT&T. Kelly departed Bleacher Report last year in June to be the chief revenue officer at Deadspin and Gizmodo publisher G/O Media, where he oversaw sales, marketing and events for the company’s brands.
“[He has an] ability to understand the digital and social aspects of a property that has an IP, how that can get maximized,” said Top Rank president Todd DuBoef in an interview. “He has a breadth of knowledge in the category. I look forward to banging down those doors of companies that have shied away from the sport and teach them a new perspective on what’s going on, how global it is, and I think [Kelly] is the right man for that.”
Top Rank promotes close to 100 boxers around the world, including WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and welterweight world champion Terence Crawford. Previously the company promoted the likes of Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
One of Kelly’s first tasks could be promoting and finding sponsorships for Fury’s next fight against Anthony Joshua, though DuBoef said the hire was not connected to the upcoming bout. The fight does not yet have a date.
“Brian’s breadth of experience and longstanding nationwide client relationships speak volumes,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum in a release. “We are thrilled he is joining the Top Rank team.”