Two months ago boxing promoter Bob Arum predicted that Showtime would be following HBO’s lead and ending its coverage of live boxing events. Showtime chairman and CEO David Nevins, speaking at the UBS conference earlier this week, said that will not be the case. He told attendees that HBO giving up on the sport presents an opportunity for Showtime to “own the high end of boxing.”
Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing says that, while there is no shortage of competition for Showtime in the boxing realm, the network does have reason to believe that it is beneficial to stay in the boxing business.
And in some ways, Nevins may well be right. Yes, there’s quite a crowded boxing market out there between DAZN, Golden Boy and Top Rank on ESPN, Premier Boxing Champions on plenty of networks, Golden Boy fights on Facebook and more, and that was all part of HBO’s rationale for exiting the space. But that HBO departure may also provide some opportunity for Showtime. Boxing on premium cable worked well for both HBO and Showtime for a long while, and now Showtime can use it as a differentiation point that helps them stand out against HBO.
Of course, there are still plenty of competitors, including some newer ones like DAZN, and it can be debated if the “high end” of boxing will really be on Showtime rather than on fighter-exclusive deals like what DAZN has with Canelo (and what Gennady Golovkin is reportedly eyeing with DAZN, ESPN, or PBC), but there’s certainly the chance for them to grab some good fights. And the amount of interest in the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight Saturday (a Showtime PPV) certainly seems like a sign there’s still buzz around boxing when it’s a good enough fight.
Showtime continues to invest in its production value for fights, as was evident Saturday Night in Deontay Wilder’s draw with Tyson Fury. Between premium cable subscriptions and Showtime Pay-Per-View, the company is set up to maximize profit from its renewed commitment to the sport.