SBD/September 30, 2013/Media

Hershman Optimistic For Future As He Discusses HBO's Tumultuous Year In Boxing

Hershman (r) said that boxing remains a challenging business to be in
HBO Sports has been "forced to be a bystander for some major events in boxing" recently following the loss of Floyd Mayweather Jr., the "decision not to do business with Golden Boy Promotions" and the "rise of a legitimate competitor in Showtime," according to Chris Mannix of SI.com. However, while HBO has had a "tumultuous year," the net also has "birthed a rising star in Gennady Golovkin, invested heavily in top international fights and continues to see steady, one-million plus viewership for its big shows." Mannix conducted a Q&A with HBO Sports President Ken Hershman, and excerpts from it are below (SI.com, 9/27).

Q: You have been on the job a little under two years now. Has it been more challenging, less challenging or as challenging as you expected?
Hershman: It's been a great challenge. I don't think of it in terms of more or less. I think the business remains a challenging business. Boxing has always been difficult, but that's what makes it fun and exciting. ... If things come together and the fights work, you get to see great results. You are going to have your setbacks but you have to keep an even keel and keep going forward.

Q: As someone who ran Showtime Sports for eight years, are you surprised by the investment they have made in boxing?
Hershman: No. Again, I think the more attention for boxing, the more people watching and enjoying boxing is a great thing for us. It's great for the sport. That's a positive for everyone.

Q: Earlier this year, you made a decision not to do business with Golden Boy. Was the thinking behind that decision as simple as Golden Boy was taking all of HBO's stars across the street to Showtime?
Hershman: It wasn't quite that simple. For me it was about whether there was a business model that synchs up with our business model and right now, it doesn't. I don't think anything has changed on that front. That's how we feel.

Q: Do you expect any changes in this relationship in 2014?
Hershman: We'll see. I never say never. I never close the door. But right now, nothing has changed.

Q: You were a proponent of MMA at Showtime. Are there any plans to incorporate MMA at HBO?
Hershman
: No, not currently. We are all full up with what we want to do. We have more content, more hours on television than we have had in years past. We're enjoying this run and not looking past this.
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