October 5, 2022

President of HBO Sports Leaving After 33 Years

Ross Greenburg, who has run HBO Sports since 2000, is leaving the network after 33 years, saying he is fatigued by his work on its boxing business.

He said he was not renewing his contract and was not being dismissed.

“I’ve accomplished everything I hoped for,” he said in a telephone interview.

He denied reports that he was fired for losing Manny Pacquiao, one of HBO’s strongest pay-per-view stars, to Showtime for his fight on May 7 against Shane Mosley.

“That’s a silly rationale,” he said. “That added to my angst, but one fight doesn’t determine whether I stayed or didn’t stay.

“I lived through the loss of Chavez and Tyson,” he said, referring to Julio Cesar Chavez and Mike Tyson, and he added: “I’ve been through a lot of wearing negotiations. I spent a lot of time appeasing promoters and managers.”

He said that he was not renewing his contract, which was expiring soon, and that he had been thinking of leaving HBO for the last three months.

But one promoter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid losing business with HBO, said: “He was absolutely fired. The guy’s been twisting in the wind for months. They’ve been looking for a replacement.”

Richard Plepler, the co-president of HBO, and Michael Lombardo, the president of HBO programming, said in a statement that Greenburg “helped redefine the sports programming genre and set an extraordinary standard of excellence in the industry.”

Greenburg, 56, became the executive producer of HBO Sports in 1985 and followed Seth Abraham as its president 11 years ago. Greenburg created the “Real Sports,” “24/7” and “Hard Knocks” series, and he oversaw production of dozens of documentaries.

His last deal for HBO was a collaboration with Major League Baseball Productions on a documentary about Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit, to be shown soon.

Greenburg has won 51 Sports Emmys and 8 Peabody Awards.

“That’s who I am,” he said, referring to programming other than boxing matches. “I create programming that makes people laugh and cry.”

Greenburg said that the toll of dealing with promoters and managers made him want to leave. One promoter in particular, Bob Arum, has criticized HBO and Greenburg, saying they exert too much control over boxing and do not make the most competitive matchups.

Arum’s displeasure with HBO led Pacquiao, whom he promotes, to fight on Showtime Pay-Per-View, which got a marketing assist from CBS’s heavy promotion. “The problem HBO Sports got into,” Arum said in May, “is they became defenders of the status quo.”

The bout generated a reported 1.3 million to 1.4 million pay-per-view purchases.

Greenburg would not discuss Arum or his criticism.

“I love the sport; I grew up in it,” Greenburg said. “We made the sport relevant when people thought it was dying.” He cited HBO’s productions of Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya’s bouts as having helped to breathe life into boxing.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=b3bd517e1946b97db6ddcacfc8f0a9aa

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