By Jake Tiernan: Eddie Hearn says it’ll be sad if Showtime leaves boxing, but he predicted this would happen two years ago, saying, “The business does not work for them.”
It’s still not official that Showtime is leaving the boxing business. The talk is that in 2024, Showtime will only be doing PPV events and will no longer have regular boxing on their network.
Some people believe that the lack of interest fans have had in Showtime’s non-PPV cards is the reason that they could potentially discontinue the regular broadcasts of boxing.
There’s been criticism from fans about the obscure fighters that are shown on Showtime’s regular broadcasts. The PPV events on Showtime have been outstanding, especially recently, but the non-PPV seems to be much less so.
Hearn says he expects Al Haymon of PBC to look for another broadcast outlet, possibly DAZN, for his fighters. If that happens, it’s unclear if Showtime would be putting on boxing at all, even PPV. Without PBC, Showtime would be without the big-name boxers for pay-per-view events.
Could PBC replace Matchroom with DAZN?
“Obviously, if Al Haymon has lost his broadcast [with Showtime], then he’s going to look to replace them. Maybe that’s a conversation with DAZN. I know he’s talking to other outlets as well, and I’m not one to gloat,” said Eddie Hearn to the Boxing Social forum.
Hearn shouldn’t gloat too much because if PBC goes to DAZN, it would essentially make Matchroom Boxing extendible, as they show a lot of British fighters that the U.S. has never heard of and has little interest in watching.
PBC arguably gives more bang for the buck in terms of their deep stable of fighters that U.S. boxing fans are interested in watching. If DAZN cares about increasing its subscription rate in the States, PBC would be far better than Matchroom.
“I know Stephen Espinoza has given me a lot of stick over the years, and I did say two years ago or whenever it was that Showtime would leave boxing,” said Hearn.
“Obviously, I’m so far ahead of the game that he’s taking a little bit longer for that to happen, but everyone abused me when I said it; everyone keeps playing that clip.”
It sure does sound like Hearn is doing a bit of gloating. He’s seriously patting himself on the back about his prediction of Showtime leaving the business.
“Even two or three months ago, when they were doing Spence-Crawford, ‘Oh, Eddie, how do you feel now? Remember when you said Showtime was going to leave boxing,'” said Hearn.
“I haven’t even reposted anything because I’m not that petty. Send me the link, but look, Showtime going out of business for boxing is a bit like me going out of business. You will be entitled to absolutely give me all the stick you want because, for years and years, I’ve given it the big one and talk s**t,” said Hearn.
Is Showtime leaving boxing?
“So if Showtime leaves boxing, I think it’s sad for boxing. I’m not going to sit there and go, ‘Yes, Stephen Espinoza is out of boxing.’ Yes, he’s done a really good job, and I mean that, and I think he’s been a great attribute to the sport,” said Hearn.
“But I told you back then that the business does not work for them, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter how much you love boxing, which he does.
“The people above you and beyond, just like broadcasters in the UK, who had a very successful boxing business and then all of a sudden now, have a business that’s hemorrhaging money, they will look at it and say, ‘This is not working for us,’ and it doesn’t matter how strong the team is at the core who love the sport. The big bosses will say the business don’t work, and that’s what’s happened at Showtime,” said Hearn.