HBO Drops Boxing After 45 Years
After 45 years of Boxing programming on HBO, HBO Sports President Peter Nelson has confirmed the network will no longer air the sport that was a cornerstone of its programming for nearly a half century.
“Our mission at HBO Sports is to elevate the brand. We look for television projects that are high-profile, high-access, and highly ambitious in the stories they seek to tell and the quality of production in telling them,” Nelson wrote in a press release on Thursday.
The announcement, first broken by the New York Times, the network will be dropping boxing in 2019, as the network will be moving away from live boxing programming, with the network remaining “open to looking at events that fit” their programming mix.
“We are a storytelling platform. The future will see unscripted series, long-form documentary films, reality programming, sports journalism, event specials and more unique standout content from HBO Sports.”
With Showtime, DAZN, Fox, and ESPN making major moves in the space, and Canelo Alvarez testing free agency waters, there were no longer any tentpole fighters for the network. Bob Arum, a frequent detractor of Nelson, called for HBO to end its relationship with the sport, after the Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin rematch earlier this month.
“There’s plenty of boxing out there,” Nelson said referencing the amount of deals being handed out across the sport. “But what we have not seen is a lot of signature destination fights.”
“Because of our association with boxing, people forget that we’re not a sports network. We’re a storytelling platform.”
“I’m still a fan of boxing. If there is a destination event, absolutely we’re in that conversation.”
Initial Report: New York Times