Ross Greenburg has been fired as HBO Sports President.
(Losing Pacquaio To Showtime Cost Longtime HBO Sports President His Job)
Greenburg’s termination will be announced by HBO as soon as this week. A severance package between the two parties was agreed upon last week.
To cushion the blow of Greenburg’s forced ouster, HBO will not announce his departure as an outright firing - instead noting that Greenburg will contribute to the company in the future as an independent producer.
An email and message left on the cell phone of HBO Vice President of Public Relations Ray Stallone was not immediately returned.
So why was Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and Inside The NFL creator Greenburg, who during his 32-year run with the company also negotiated countless major boxing broadcast rights agreements, ejected by HBO execs as their sports division president?
Some of the reasons:
1) Losing Manny Pacquaio to Showtime.
2) Not informing his HBO superiors about the possible loss of boxing’s biggest star to its arch-rival until it was too late.
3) Alienating the boxing community from top-to-bottom.
After Greenburg was stunningly outmanuevered in early 2011 by Showtime for the broadcast rights to the Pacquaio-Shane Mosley match, top HBO executives reached out to boxing and sports business executives to inquire about Greenburg’s business methods.
Negative reaction from that fact-finding mission, along with the loss of Pacquaio to Showtime, convinced HBO to terminate Greenburg’s full-time employ at the company.
Leading up to his ouster, Greenburg’s heavy-handed methods had grown ineffective in an increasingly competitive, financially-driven sports business environment. An environment that led to Showtime wresting Pacquaio’s services away from HBO for the first time - with HBO and Showtime now once again locked in battle for future fight rights to boxing’s brightest star.
With those critical negotiations in mind and HBO’s on the record, continued commitment to boxing, the company was left with two choices as it pertained to the future of HBO Sports:
1) Jettison Greenburg
Correction: No choice.