Sports attorney Stephen Espinoza, who has represented Oscar De La Hoya and Mike Tyson as well as other athletes and personalities, has been named as Showtime’s executive vice president and general manager of sports and event programming, it was announced by the network’s Chairman and CEO, Matthew C. Blank.
Espinoza is the replacement for Ken Hershman, who accepted a similar post as president of HBO Sports last month, and is expected to begin that role on Jan. 9.
Hershman took over the position vacated by Ross Greenburg, who announced his resignation in July after having been at the helm HBO Sports, which oversees its boxing programming, since September of 2000.
“Stephen has had a great career that spans sports, entertainment, television and film,” said Blank, to whom Espinoza will report.
“His deep experience in a variety of fields and incredible knowledge and contacts within the boxing and mixed martial arts communities will be an asset to Showtime as we continue to expand our offerings. I am confident that he will be a great leader to our already all-star sports group.”
In his new role, Espinoza will be responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the sports and event group, including developing the overall strategy of the group and its pay-per-view unit, managing the network’s relationships with distributors, talent and suppliers, and the acquisition and licensing of Showtime and pay-per-view sports and event programming.
The network’s current sports programming includes Showtime Championship Boxing, the Super Six World Boxing Classic, Inside Nascar, ShoBox: The New Generation, the Emmy Award-winning Inside The NFL and Strikeforce mixed martial arts.
“I’m very happy for Showtime. I’m very happy for Stephen Espinoza. Stephen is very passionate about boxing and he knows the sport very, very well,” Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said of Espinoza, who has served as the lead counsel for the Los Angeles-based promotional company since its inception.
“He knows the people within the sport very well and has been one of the most successful sports lawyers in the United States, so I’m very happy for Stephen and for Showtime. I look forward to continuing to build on our already strong existing relationship with Showtime.”
Prior to joining Showtime, Espinoza was a partner in the firm of Ziffren Brittenham LLP. At the firm, Espinoza specialized in representing athletes and sports personalities, including De La Hoya and Tyson, who generated a total of over $500 million in pay-per-view revenues under his representation.
Other notable former sports clients include former NFL star and current broadcaster Michael Strahan and mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano.
Greenburg, meanwhile, was hired last week by NBC Sports Group to produce documentaries for the newly-formed NBC Sports Network.
Greenburg will also produce documentaries for the Golf Channel and NBC, as well as the upcoming series “Costas Tonight,” to be hosted by Bob Costas.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org