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Peter Nelson justifies death of HBO Boxing

ESPN’s Dan Rafael gets an explanation from the HBO executive on why the network bowed out of the boxing business.

Premiere Of HBO’s ‘Andre The Giant’ - Red Carpet Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

In a couple of interesting tweets that ESPN’s Dan Rafael posted last night, he provided a quote from HBO’s Peter Nelson on why HBO dumped their boxing programming after being an industry leader for as long as many can remember.

The ‘explanation’ was rather convoluted, and probably won’t be satisfactory to many, but here’s the Nelson quote anyway:

“Our mission is to use sports as a lens into socio-economic, political & cultural issues. I think humanizing individuals, creating empathy around different communities, allowing that to cross-pollinate for people in a way that allows them to contextualize themselves and the world around them. That’s at the heart of what we strive to do.”

Apparently boxing is no longer aligned with HBO’s mission here, although a much simpler explanation would be that the network just doesn’t want to, or can’t, allocate the resources it would take to remain competitive in a changing boxing landscape. Heck, even Nelson mentioning that their data indicates that boxing no longer drives subscriptions to the network was a much better explanation that this blurb. But, ya know, ‘it is what it is.’

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