A bit of a shake up over the back half of the year at HBO Sports makes us curious for the evolution of that division of the company, but then again the network is full of changes going into 2016.
It started in July with Bill Simmons (pictured right) coming on board. He is considered one of the most influential figures in contemporary sports media and now HBO has him in a major exclusive multi-year, multi-platform agreement. Among the elements of the new deal will be a talk show set to premiere in 2016 that will air on the main HBO service, as well as the digital platforms. Topical and spontaneous, the show will feature stories and guests from across the sports and cultural landscapes. Simmons will also have a production deal to produce content and assets for the network and its digital platforms, delivering video podcasts and features.
Simmons was also expected to consult HBO Sport projects alongside the division’s president Ken Hershman (pictured left). However, Hershman has now announced his resignation effective at the end of this year. SI.com has a piece detailing his career, but the bottom line is that HBO Sports will be rudderless going into the 2016. Hershman said –
“There was no flashpoint, no moment, just an evolution of thinking and talking to people inside and outside of the sport. It’s been a while. This is not a rash or sudden decision. It’s something I’ve been reflecting on. It takes some time to say it out loud, to accept it and go from there. I did that a few weeks back, and here we are. Leaving HBO in a better place than how it was when I got here was important. I’m extremely proud of what we accomplished. I came at a time when HBO needed a new energy, a new direction and I felt that mission was accomplished.”
Exactly how all this will affect HBO and its sports programming is unclear at this time. Is someone in-house able to pick up the mantle? How will that all shape HBO Boxing next year? What content will Bill Simmons provide? Well, to that last question we have an answer. Simmons’ contribution has been unknown since his job started. But now we have learned that his first project is a documentary about this guy…
With new series, children’s programming and news coming to HBO it only makes sense that HBO Sports will transition as well. We will keep you apprised as developments surface including the new president in HBO’s sports area. Stay tuned.