Showtime Sports, the premium US entertainment cable and satellite channel, is set to shut down at the end of 2023.
Paramount Global, the US media and TV heavyweight that owns the channel, made an announcement yesterday (October 17) that the boxing-focused network will exit sports programming.
In a statement, Paramount said: “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.
“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.”
Showtime Sports was originally founded in 1986 and has been one of the main homes of televised boxing action in the US for the last three decades.
The Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) series has been the main source of live boxing events on Showtime since 2013 and has an exclusive deal in place with the channel.
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However, the only event currently on the Showtime calendar is the November 25 fight between David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade in Las Vegas. The most recent ‘Showtime Championship Boxing’ flagship show took place in July.
It has been reported now that PBC is currently exploring broadcast deals moving forward with Amazon Prime Video and global streaming platform DAZN. The promotion stable currently features fighters such as Canelo Alvarez, Deontay Wilder, and Errol Spence.
In terms of the boxing icons who have fought on Showtime, these include Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather.
Showtime has also covered mixed martial arts, through a deal struck in 2021 with the Bellator brand (also owned by Paramount), and in addition, has produced long-form sports documentaries.
Earlier this year, the service was merged with the Paramount+ streaming platform run by the network.
In an internal communication to Showtime staff, the network’s president Stephen Espinoza said: “The company’s decision is not a reflection of the work we have done in recent years, nor of our long and proud history.
“It is not an indictment on the value we have delivered to this network for 37 years, nor, in particular, in 2023. Unfortunately, in a rapidly evolving media marketplace, the company has had to make difficult choices allocating resources, resetting priorities, and reshaping its content offering.”