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Showtime promotes Stephen Espinoza to president of sports and event programming

Showtime promotes Stephen Espinoza to president of sports and event programming
On Stephen Espinoza's watch, Showtime has had the two biggest pay-per-view events in television history. (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)

Showtime Networks Inc. has elevated Stephen Espinoza to president of its sports and event programming, the CBS-owned premium cable channel announced Wednesday.

Espinoza, 48, will continue to oversee the Showtime division he joined in 2011 as executive vice president and general manager. On his watch, Showtime has stepped up its production of live boxing events, a market that had long been dominated by HBO.

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In 2017, Showtime presented 71 live bouts — which included 33 championship fights and which the network said is the most of any TV outlet by a wide margin. The year included a major payday generated by the pay-per-view match between undefeated middleweight Floyd Mayweather Jr. and mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor; it surpassed $600 million in worldwide revenue.

During Espinoza's tenure, Showtime has had the two biggest pay-per-view events in television history: the Mayweather-McGregor fight and Mayweather's 2015 bout against Manny Pacquiao.

Espinoza has also broadened Showtime's menu of sports programming by increasing the production and acquisition of documentaries. And he has added unscripted series such as "A Season With," which goes behind the scenes with student athletes.

Before joining Showtime, Espinoza was an entertainment lawyer and represented fight promoter and former boxer Oscar de la Hoya.

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

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