Paramount is shutting down Showtime Sports. The division has been around for nearly 38 years, and the move — which will happen by the end of 2023 — will lead to an undetermined number of layoffs, including (shockingly) Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza, who has run Showtime Sports since 2011.
Paramount Global released the following statement: “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.”
Espinoza also released a statement that read in part, “The company’s decision is not a reflection of the work we have done in recent years, nor of our long and proud history. … Unfortunately, in a rapidly evolving media marketplace, the company has had to make difficult choices allocating resources, resetting priorities and reshaping its content offering. While today’s news is certainly difficult and disappointing, it is entirely out of our control.”
Sports Business Journal also reported that as a result of the move, Showtime will be getting out of the boxing business in entirety. It should be noted that Paramount still owns the MMA company Bellator but has been in the market trying to sell it for months.
And there’s more.
Showtime Sports’ documentaries and digital programming — including the Showtime Basketball brand — also will be going away at the end of the year. Part of the reason for the move is that Paramount has a sports division — CBS Sports — that produces content for broadcast and cable TV, plus the Paramount+ streaming service. It’s not known what sports — if any — Showtime will continue to carry. But starting next year, any sport on Showtime will be produced by CBS Sports. According to multiple reports, it is likely that CBS Sports will produce documentaries for Showtime over the next several years.