The changes at Showtime continue. Paramount Global confirmed Tuesday that the network’s sports operation will be dissolved by the end of the year. Showtime will honor its 2023 obligations, airing the remaining boxing commitments.
“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,” Paramount Global said in a statement. “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.”
This marks the latest downsizing move at Showtime since the exit of longtime CEO David Nevins a year ago when the premium cable network was put under the purview of Chris McCarthy. Since then, Showtime merged with MTV Entertainment Studios, it was rebranded as Paramount+ with Showtime and underwent layoffs. Its programming slate also was paired down as it refocuses to follow three new thematic lanes.
Sports chief Stephen Espinosa and his team will depart at the end of the year, a source confirmed.
Showtime is leaving the boxing business after almost 38 years, exiting after nearly 2,000 bouts five years after longtime rival HBO did the same in 2018. Nevins was a big supporter of the network’s sports efforts, which culminated in the hyped Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. face-off in 2019.
Like HBO, Showtime had struggled with the cost of continuing sports programming at the same time its parent company was making significant investments in streaming. Paramount Global inherited Viacom’s investment in the Bellator MMA circuit, but has recently been reported to be looking to offload it.