Showtime has embraced being the home of top-notch boxing
When you think of Showtime Anytime, you think of great scripted programs like Billions, Homeland, Ray Donovan, Shameless, White Famous and I am Dying Up Here, to name a few. There can be no doubt that if there was a gap between Showtime and HBO when it comes to original programming that gap has been closed.
However, perhaps an area of Showtime Anytime’s focus on building a strong programming portfolio that has been overlooked by some is in their sports department where they offer some the best streaming sports in the business.
The executive vice president and general manager for Showtime Sports is Stephen Espinoza and in our conversation for this week’s Stream On podcast, he made one thing abundantly clear. Showtime takes a backseat to no one when it comes to boxing, period, end of the sentence.
In my conversation with Espinoza, he was quick to talk about how Showtime has embraced the whole concept of the streaming video world. He believes that boxing is far from dead and that a younger audience has embraced the sport one that consumes its content in many ways and over many social media platforms.
Espinosa also pointed out the important role that social media has played in the Showtime plan to get boxing fans engaged with their telecasts.
They were ahead of the curb producing digital-only content that has caused a great deal of buzz around all of their boxing events.
A great example of that creativity was the use of social media in Showtime’s promotion of the epic Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight this past summer. Streaming live events leading up to the fight on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms was a masterful move and no doubt was a contributing factor in making the fight one of biggest pay-per-view events of all time.
Perhaps, there is no better example of how Showtime has stepped into the leadership role in boxing than their Saturday night show this week. On the Showtime Anytime app and the traditional Showtime network starting at 9p ET/6p PT from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, there will a major live championship fight.
A rare championship battle that features a champion from the United States. The WBC champion Deontay Wilder, America’s first heavyweight world champion in more than a decade, will get a chance to face the only fighter that he has yet to knock out Bermane Stiverne.
This is the much-anticipated rematch of their 2015 world title fight won by Wilder. He brings his undefeated at 38-0 with 37 kayos. Meanwhile, Stiverne will enter the ring with a stellar record of (25-2-1, 21 KOs).
There is a very impressive undercard worthy of your time featuring, the charismatic former welterweight champ “Showtime” Shawn Porter (27-2-1, 17 KOs) who faces the talented Adrian Granados (18-5-2, 12 KOs) in the featured undercard and Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10 KOs) takes on Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16 KOs) in the junior welterweight title fight.
There are many more fights to come according to Espinoza who feels that boxing is a great Saturday night alternative to the college football that airs on ABC, FOX and sometimes CBS. He also feels that both UFC and boxing can co-exist in the same sports world.
While it is clear that Showtime Anytime is a prime spot for boxing I would be remiss if I did not mention they also have one of the best NFL shows in the business on the air as well.
Inside the NFL is starting its 40th season on TV and its ninth year on Showtime. The iconic show is a grand mixture of NFL Films footage combined with great analysis provided by some of the game’s best voices plus current stars.
Good friends of mine James Brown and Phil Simms are joined by Ray Lewis along with Boomer Esiason, and Brandon Marshall. The group never disappoints as they do a weekly deep dive into all things NFL and of course, you can watch it live or on demand on Showtime Anytime.