As BoxingScene.com previously reported, HBO said on Thursday it will be dropping live boxing from its programming schedule from 2019 due to dwindling ratings, ending a 45-year association with the sport.
With the top fights on pay-per-view and boxing available on other places and platforms, HBO has decided to put those resources into other projects.
"Boxing has been part of our heritage for decades," said HBO Sports in a statement. "During that time, the sport has undergone a transformation.
"It is now widely available on a host of networks and streaming services. There is more boxing than ever being televised and distributed. In some cases, this programming is very good. But from an entertainment point of view, it's not unique."
Over the last two years HBO has seen its viewing numbers for boxing drop by a third while research has indicated subscribers were not signing up to the service strictly for boxing.
"We are a storytelling platform," said HBO Sports. "The future will see unscripted series, long-form documentary films, reality programming, sports journalism, event specials and more unique standout content from HBO Sports.
"Our audience research clearly shows the type of programming our subscribers embrace. For HBO Sports, it's programming that viewers can’t find elsewhere. Going forward in 2019, we will be pivoting away from programming live boxing on HBO. As always, we will remain open to looking at events that fit our programming mix. This could include boxing, just not for the foreseeable future."
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya, who was one of the last remaining promoters aligned with the network, offered his thoughts on the stunning announcement.
"As someone who fought on HBO 32 times and worked with the network to televise hundreds of fights under the Golden Boy banner, I know firsthand the debt of gratitude the sport of boxing owes everyone at the company," De La Hoya stated.
"For four decades, HBO Boxing helped carry boxing through its highest peaks and deepest valleys, and in the end it leaves the sport in the best shape it has been in many years. Multiple networks are now televising boxing; streaming services are bringing the sport to countless additional fans; and arenas across the world are now packed to the rafters to watch the sport of kings.
"None of this would have been possible without HBO. - I wish Richard Plepler, Peter Nelson and the entire HBO Boxing team all the best in their future endeavors."