Ken Hershman, president of HBO Sports since 2012, resigned in a surprise move on Friday, although he will remain in his position through the end of the year.
In his role, Hershman, 52, was one of the most powerful people in the boxing business. He controlled an eight-figure annual budget for HBO’s boxing franchise, the gold standard in the sport for decades, and oversaw its pay-per-view division. He decided which fighters the network — the key player in creating most of boxing’s stars since the 1970s — would back and was a key figure in moving fighters to the lucrative HBO PPV platform.
“I am particularly proud of what I accomplished and believe now is the perfect time to hand over the reins to someone new,” Hershman said in a statement released by the network.
Hershman’s resignation comes almost four years to the day after his hiring was announced in October 2011, a few months after Ross Greenburg, who had been with the network for 33 years and led the division for 10 as president, was forced to resign.
Hershman began the job in January 2012, leaving a similar role at HBO rival Showtime, where he also ran the boxing program to much critical acclaim, even if his viewership numbers and budget could never match those of the much larger HBO.
“I’ve had the distinct privilege of having been involved in many of boxing’s biggest and most thrilling moments, including the Mike Tyson era, creating the Super Six tournament [at Showtime], and staging the biggest pay-per-view event of all-time this past May in Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao [in a joint deal with Showtime],” Hershman said. “I have also had the privilege to steward over some of the best sports shows on television, including ’24/7,’ ‘Real Sports’ and ‘Hard Knocks,’ and to work with some of the best talent in television, both behind and in front of the camera.”
HBO said that Hershman will work with HBO programming president Mike Lombardo on the transition to a new president, who has not been selected, although Peter Nelson, an HBO Sports vice president, is viewed as a possible successor.
“Ken’s dedication and commitment to our sports division is deeply appreciated,” Lombardo said. “His approach to rebuilding our boxing franchise was strategic and creative, which led HBO Sports to great success. All of us here are grateful and proud of the success Ken and the HBO Sports team have had over the past four years in delivering unparalleled sports programming to our subscribers. We wish him all the best in his next challenge.”
One of Hershman’s most significant accomplishments was bringing Manny Pacquiao back from a one-fight move to Showtime in 2011 — which he oversaw — that was a big part of why Greenburg was forced to resign. Hershman also made the controversial decision to banish all the fighters involved with manager/adviser Al Haymon from the network because of Haymon’s unwillingness to set up tough matches for his fighters. But Hershman was also in charge when recently retired pound-for-pound king Mayweather, Haymon’s top client, left HBO for a nine-figure deal at Showtime.
Also under Hershman’s watch at HBO, the network signed established fighters such as Mexican star Canelo Alvarez and heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko to network contracts. He also signed middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin and light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev and helped build them from virtual unknowns into cornerstones of their boxing program.
Hershman’s final major act in boxing was announced on Thursday night: the signing of super middleweight champion Andre Ward, one of boxing’s pound-for-pound best, to a multi-fight contract that will culminate with a pay-per-view showdown against Kovalev next fall.
“HBO Sports is well positioned for the future, especially in the boxing arena, with nine of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the sport today, including the world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, Miguel Cotto, Andre Ward, Terence Crawford and many others,” Hershman said. “I cannot wait to watch these great fighters exhibit their skills, but from the vantage point of a passionate boxing fan,” Hershman said.
Credit to ESPN who originally published this article
Joe Buck: ESPN Is Letting Us Set Tone For Monday Night Football
“It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”
While Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling football games on Monday nights for ESPN instead of Sunday afternoons for FOX this year, fans shouldn’t expect the broadcasts to be that much different, if at all, than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 years.
Buck was recently a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and said that ESPN knows that he and Aikman have to be comfortable in order for Monday Night Football to be a success.
“I know we are in the honeymoon phase. I’m not dumb. That stuff wears off after a while. They are like ‘however you guys have always done a game, that’s the way we want you to do a game whether it’s with regard to meetings vs. conference calls or when you guys show up, how you like the booth set up. However you want it, we are going to do it your way’ and that’s to their credit. It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”
Buck and Aikman are obviously already very familiar with each other. Buck said that it will be important not to take that for granted or second guess what they already know.
“I think the one thing Troy and I have to avoid is trying to be different than we’ve been. They hired us based on what we’ve done and who we are and how we relate to each other and the way we see a game,” said Buck.
Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys
The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.
Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.
But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.
Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.
Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:
Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.
Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”
Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.
The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.
Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.
“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”
Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”
He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.
Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.