Mike Coppinger of ESPN has reported that Paramount Global has announced that Showtime will end boxing and mma programming by the end of the year. PBC has an exclusive broadcasting deal with Showtime and has been speaking to providers like Amazon and DAZN as they look toward their future.
Showtime will exit boxing programming at the end of 2023, sources told ESPN.
PBC has an exclusive deal with Showtime and has been the main provider of fights on SHO since 2013.
PBC is exploring broadcast deals with Amazon Prime Video and DAZN, sources said.
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) October 17, 2023
Paramount Global, the parent company of Showtime, issued the following statement.
“As we evolve our strategy to more efficiently allocate resources and align our content offering across the business, we’ve made the difficult decision not to move forward with boxing and other content produced by the SHOWTIME sports team. SHOWTIME will continue to air and support the remaining 2023 boxing slate and honor obligations through the end of the year. We want to express our deepest gratitude to our employees who have contributed to this award-winning sports programming over multiple decades.”
In a subsequent move, Stephen Espinoza is reportedly being laid off. His termination was confirmed by Sports Business Journal’s reporting with the following official statement.
“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 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.”
Stephen Espinoza shared the following hours earlier which one could surmise that the rapid nature of Paramount Global’s decision has caught the now-former exec by surprise.
“I’m smiling because everyone’s got an inside source,” Espinoza said. “Everyone’s an expert, everybody has a source who’s telling them exactly what’s going on — none of which is accurate. Now, look, there’s a budget process and there’s things to be discussed, and there’s a media business that’s a lot of transformation, and there’s a Paramount corporation that is under financial pressures like all media companies nowadays.
With the Showtime set to be out of the boxing business, the landscape of boxing broadcasts will be forever changed. It will be interesting to see if a new player like Amazon picks up PBC programming, or if DAZN can add PBC’s portfolio to join Golden Boy and Matchrom Boxing. Canelo Alvarez has two fights left on his deal with PBC.
Social Media Reaction:
Very sad news.
Showtime Boxing has been an institution for decades. Amazing people have worked on those shows for years. What an unfortunate turn of events. https://t.co/UVzsQt0by3
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 17, 2023
didn't he say Eddie Hearn was lying about this 😂😂 Sad to see them gone though but Boxing needs to adapt to the new landscape, 2023 was a great year in terms of making the fights we wanted but they should have started that earlier. No more waiting 15 years to get the fights we…
— AWUREDO (@AOUREDOO) October 17, 2023