HBO Exec: Ratings Didn’t Play Role in Decision

The rumor that declining ratings played a role in HBO’s decision to drop boxing after 45 years is untrue, according to Peter Nelson, head of HBO Sports.

The announcement was made on Sept. 27 after the network faced much competition in the broadcasting of the sport. Bob Arum and Top Rank left the network for a deal with ESPN, Showtime expanded the quantity and quality of its fighters, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing left both HBO and Showtime for a deal with DAZN and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) recently signed a new deal with Showtime and Fox Sports.

The SuperFly 3 card held earlier this month produced one of the lowest rating figures for the network’s boxing events in history.

But according to Nelson, the reason behind the decision was that HBO’s audience is no longer subscribing for the boxing content.

“This decision has been a shift, not a result of where we stand in other places in boxing, but directionally where we feel the direction is in HBO Sports,” Nelson told the Los Angeles Times. “We had the fight of the year — the No. 1 pay-per-view event, eight of the top 10 highest rated premium-cable fights. You could say our vibrancy in the sport is as strong as ever.”

We’re proud of our legacy in boxing. The sport is in a better place because of HBO’s presence in it. We have a tremendous heritage to point to in regard to the roadmap we provided on how to humanize these fighters and their communities…that aspect of storytelling is one we look to continue. There’s more ample opportunity for fighters across different platforms than ever before. As a fan of the sport, I think that’s great.

Original Story: Boxing Scene

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