Showtime Sports to be shut down by Paramount in strategic shift – The Hollywood Reporter

The boxing bell rings for Showtime Sports.

Paramount says Showtime’s sports division will close at the end of the year.

“As we evolve our strategy to more efficiently allocate resources and align our content offering across the business, we have made the difficult decision to no longer move forward with boxing and other content produced by the Showtime sports team,” Paramount Global said in a statement. . “Showtime will continue to broadcast and support the remaining 2023 boxing slate and fulfill commitments through the end of the year. We want to express our deep gratitude to our employees who have contributed to these award-winning sports programs over many decades.”

Showtime Sports has occupied a unique space in the sports market, with its focus on combat sports such as boxing and mixed martial arts (through the Bellator brand), as well as feature-length sports documentaries. Showtime’s exit from the sports business follows a similar move by HBO Sports in 2018, when it exited the boxing business. HBO still produces sports films and documentaries.

Of course, Paramount already has a sports division at CBS Sports, which features the NFL, college football, basketball and other live events. CBS Sports is expected to oversee all sports content within the company moving forward, including any sports docs or similar programming.

The company owns Bellator, although it was looking for a buyer for the MMA promotion. Showtime Sports will also continue as planned with the remaining two boxing events scheduled to take place this year.

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In a memo to employees after the decision was announced, Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza expressed his “deep disappointment” with the news.

“The company’s decision does not reflect the work we have done in recent years, nor our long and proud history,” Espinoza wrote. “It is not an indictment of the value we have provided this network for 37 years, nor particularly, in 2023. Unfortunately, in a rapidly evolving media market, the company has been forced to make difficult choices to allocate resources, reset priorities and reshape its content offering.” .

Earlier this year, Paramount merged Showtime with its Paramount+ streaming service, consolidating Showtime’s programming — including live boxing matches and sports documentaries — into its larger streaming offering.

Entertainment president Chris McCarthy shifted Showtime’s strategy to focus on core franchises such as… Billions And Yellow jacketsAlthough Showtime’s sports programming continued after the merger was completed.

Espinosa’s note below.

Colleagues and friends:

I was very disappointed to share this morning’s news that the company has decided to shut down Showtime Sports at the end of this year.

For more than 37 years, Showtime Sports and Events Programming has held an important place in the sports media ecosystem, delivering outstanding stories, bold and provocative documentaries, thoughtful analysis and debate, and of course, outstanding live production of the biggest combat sports events in history. We helped illuminate the intersection of sports, culture and society, boldly and unapologetically exploring stories and topics that others couldn’t or wouldn’t want to explore. We do all of this with the highest standards of care and quality.

The company’s decision does not reflect the work we have done in recent years, nor our long and proud history. This is not an indictment of the value we have provided this network for 37 years, nor especially, in 2023. Unfortunately, in a rapidly evolving media market, the company has been forced to make difficult choices to allocate resources and realign and reshape priorities. Display its content.

While today’s news is certainly difficult and disappointing, it is completely out of our control. So, as we have done when faced with similar challenges in the past, we will control the things we can control. We will continue to deliver on our promise to our subscribers and content partners through the remainder of the year; It is to continue to deliver the highest quality, industry-leading boxing programming that has made us the unmistakable premier destination for the sport worldwide and to finish what we started in 2023, which may be the best year in the history of our division.

From Emmy Award-winning documentaries to the three highest-grossing pay-per-view events in television history, I’m incredibly proud of our content and events — but I’m much more proud of what we have the people. Your hard work, dedication and passion inspire me every day, and it is these qualities that will be the lasting legacy of Showtime Sports.

sincerely,

Steven

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