HBO (Home Box Office), the network synonymous with top tier programming and sports made a shocking announcement. The worldwide known tv network decided that they will no longer making boxing events. This decision will be for the foreseeable future. The New York Times was the first to report the news.
The news comes as HBO recognizes that a research done by the network found that boxing is no longer a determinant factor for subscribing to HBO. But that is not all.
Also, a few other services have been putting time and money to the world of boxing. This has been seen most recent when boxing champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao defeated Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse. That bout was transmitted through ESPN+, a new streaming service from ESPN Network.
ESPN+ is marketed as an add-on subscription on top of ESPN’s core linear networks. It’s content is similar to or having been exclusively moved to the service from ESPN3. The service features such as combat sports, college sports (including exclusive coverage of Ivy League events), cricket, rugby union, soccer (including out-of-market Major League Soccer matches), and tennis.
These types of services could’ve been very well be the nail in the coffin for HBO to come and make that decision.
Here is the full and heartfelt statement form the network:
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 and 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. Also, 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 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”.
How it all started
HBO was a little known outlet that mostly aired reruns of movies when it got into boxing. That started by televising the historic 1973 heavyweight title fight between Joe Frazier and George Foreman.
Frazier was the undefeated champion, only 22 months removed from his epic victory over Muhammad Ali. But Foreman knocked Frazier down six times and stopped him in the second round.
Thousands of exciting and controversial bouts followed after. Even Puerto Rico’s own Felix Trinidad, the late Hector “Macho” Camacho and Miguel Cotto where part of the winning formula that HBO Boxing brought to the table.
As years went by the popularity of HBO Boxing was at an all-time high. Mostly because they knew their market and how to approach it. The hit show ‘HBO’s 24/7′ is one to lead the way as the top show based on boxing on the premium service. ’24/7’ serves as a platform to hype high profile fights and has been proven to be a successful tool when it comes to selling a boxing bout.
The network will continue with their remaining events of this year. According to their schedule their ‘swan song’ (for now, and i am hopeful that they will return) will be on October 27. The title bout is for the vacant IBF middleweight title between Daniel Jacobs and Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
After 45 years all i can say is Thank you HBO Boxing!