Cable television subscribers, those who have yet to make the jump to streaming services like Netflix, want more original programming like Ray Donovan and Homeland and less boxing matches like Terence Crawford vs. Jose Benavidez.
That’s according to fossilized fight promoter Bob Arum, who believes the Showtime network, much like HBO is doing, will be exiting the “sweet science” at some point in 2019, sending pugilists to networks like FOX and ESPN.
“So I’m predicting also that within the next year Showtime will be exiting from boxing because, as great as they’ve been for boxing, they don’t belong,” Arum told the Randy Gordon and Gerry Cooney Sirius show (via Bad Left Hook). “Does FOX belong in boxing? Of course they do. They’re a regular network that has a lot of sports. ESPN is perfect for boxing. That’s where it’s going. The world never stays the same. It always changes. Their time has now passed.”
FOX was home for mixed martial arts (MMA) for the last seven years and recently signed a new deal with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) instead of re-upping with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) when their historic deal was set to expire.
As for ESPN, the “worldwide leader in sports” will welcome Dana White and Co. in 2019 in a recently-announced deal that includes programming on television, as well as its streaming platforms (more on that here).
Where boxing ends up, remains to be seen. Perhaps here?