By Adam Baskin: In a major blow for fans, Showtime Sports’ boxing coverage will be discontinued by Paramount Global at the end of 2023. It’s been talked about Showtime leaving boxing for a while, but now it’s finally out in the open. Oh well, there’s another great network down the drain for fans.
First, it was HBO, and now it’s Showtime getting out of boxing, which narrows the choices for people down to ESPN, DAZN, and possibly Amazon Prime. Who’s to blame? I know a lot of fans are pointing fingers at PBC for the mismatches.
Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza says boxing will continue to be covered on their network until the end of the year. Espinoza, who has been with Showtime for the last twelve years since 2011, will be laid off, according to the Sportsbusisinessjournal.
This move means that PBC, the company providing boxing entertainment for Showtime, will shop for another broadcast deal. As reported, PBC boss Al Haymon is looking at Amazon Prime & DAZN as potential landing spots for his company.
Showtime has been in the boxing business for a long time, and for many fans, they were the place they went to after HBO stopped broadcasting the sport.
In the past, Showtime put on some great fights, but recently, it’s been a downward spiral, with wealthy fighters inactive for ages, and when they finally return, it’s to face a scrub.
Some fans blame the decision to end boxing coverage on Showtime due to the poor product provided by PBC, with mismatches galore involving many of their most popular fighters, such as Gervonta Davis, and the important fights never happening.
Although PBC has excellent fighters, they’re inactive for long periods, and when they do fight, it’s frequently against hapless opposition with no chance of winning. For example, Tank Davis’ last opponent was the inexperienced Ryan Garcia, who some would argue is an influencer disguised as a boxer.
The decision by Paramount to end boxing programming is due to the focus on streaming services, which suggests that the sport isn’t producing the numbers needed to make it viable.
Statement by Showtime boss Espinoza to Sport Business Journal:
“The company’s decision is not a reflection of the work we have done in recent years, nor of our long and proud history. Unfortunately, in a rapidly evolving media marketplace, the company has had to make difficult choices in allocating resources, resetting priorities, and reshaping its content offering. While today’s news is certainly difficult and disappointing, it is entirely out of our control.”