HBO issued a statement on Thursday to announce the closure of boxing coverage from November after 45 years.
It’s a sad day when an institution of the sport has decided to move away from what’s become second nature to fight fans.
Earlier this month, HBO PPV broadcast a superb clash between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin Las Vegas.
The rematch of the 2017 clash only manage 1.1m PPV buys, 200k less than the original, which couldn’t have helped the decision.
Danny Jacobs v Sergey Derevyanchenko on Oct 27 will be the final broadcast.
Outlining their vision for the future, HBO explained their shock move to drop boxing from their schedule.
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.
Boxing has been part of our heritage for decades. During that time, the sport has undergone a transformation. It is now widely available on a host of networks and streaming services.
There is more boxing than ever being televised and distributed. In some cases, this programming is very good. But from an entertainment point of view, it’s not unique.
Going forward in 2019, we will be pivoting away from programming live boxing on HBO. As always, we will remain open to looking at events that fit our programming mix. This could include boxing, just not for the foreseeable future.
We’re deeply indebted to the many courageous fighters whose careers we were privileged to cover.
There have been hundreds of dedicated and remarkably creative men and women who have delivered the best in television production for HBO’s coverage of boxing.
We are so grateful for their contributions. It has been a wonderful journey chronicling the careers and backstories of so many spectacularly talented prizefighters.
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.
We are constantly evaluating our programming to determine what resonates with our subscribers. Our audience research clearly shows the type of programming our subscribers embrace. For HBO Sports, it’s programming that viewers can’t find elsewhere.
In keeping with this mission, we’ve accelerated our commitment to storytelling. This has produced landmark shows like “Andre the Giant,” which is the most viewed sports documentary ever on HBO; the acclaimed NFL reality franchise “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cleveland Browns,” which delivered double-digit viewership gains from a year ago.
“Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel,” the gold standard in sports journalism on television; the powerful docu-series “Being Serena” that chronicled the comeback of tennis icon Serena Williams; and the acclaimed unfiltered talk series “The Shop” featuring LeBron James.
This fall, HBO Sports will present an edition of “24/7” highlighting the upcoming Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson match play plus engaging documentary films like “Student Athlete” and “Momentum Generation” brought to us by accomplished filmmakers.
In 2019, we will have the innovative multi-part documentary presentation “What’s My Name|Muhammad Ali” from director Antoine Fuqua. It comes in conjunction with executive producers LeBron James and Maverick Carter of SpringHill Entertainment.
Other new ventures will be announced in the weeks ahead as HBO Sports continues to explore new frontiers in sports programming. – HBO