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Stephen Espinoza Named Executive Vice President of Showtime Sports

Stephen Espinoza has just been named Showtime’s new executive vice president of sports and event programming. He was previously a partner in the firm Ziffren Brittenham LLP, where he represented a roster of fighters and sports figures like Mike Tyson, Michael Strahan and Gina Carano. He was also the lead counsel for Oscar De La Hoya‘s Golden Boy Promotions.

His new responsibilities at Showtime will heavily involve putting together live boxing and mixed martial arts events. With his former roster of clients, sounds like that shouldn’t be too tough.

Espinoza currently resides in LA, but will work out of Showtime’s New York office, where he will report to Chairman and CEO Matthew C. Blank.

Press release after the jump:

Showtime Networks Inc. has named Stephen Espinoza as its new Executive Vice President, General Manager, Showtime Sports and Event Programming. The announcement was made today by Matthew C. Blank, Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc., to whom he will report.

“Stephen has had a great career that spans sports, entertainment, television and film,” said Blank. “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.”

As head of SHOWTIME Sports, Espinoza will be responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the sports and event group, including developing and executing 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 hard-hitting 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.

Prior to joining SHOWTIME, Espinoza was a partner in the firm of Ziffren Brittenham LLP. At the firm, he specialized in representing athletes and sports personalities, including professional boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Mike Tyson, who generated a total of over $500 million in pay-per-view revenues under his representation. Espinoza has served as lead counsel for De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions since the formation of the company. Through his representation of Tyson, De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions, Espinoza has been directly involved in several of the highest-grossing pay-per-view boxing events in the history of the sport. Other notable former sports clients include former NFL star and current broadcaster Michael Strahan and mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano.

During his tenure at Ziffren Brittenham, Espinoza also represented a variety of established and emerging performers and filmmakers, including actors Keanu Reeves, James Spader, Vanessa Hudgens and Kevin McHale, musical artists Alicia Keys, Eminem, Shakira and Snoop Dogg, writer/directors Tyler Perry and Matthew Vaughn, director Barry Sonnenfeld, and producers Scott Rudin and Gavin Polone, among many others.

Espinoza has extensive experience in structuring and negotiating distribution, financing, debt and equity arrangements for independent television and motion picture companies. He was personally responsible for closing over $100 million in debt and equity deals from 2009 to 2010. Some of his deals included Tyler Perry Studios in connection with the television series “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns,” Revolution and Cubevision in connection with the television series “Are We There Yet,” and Everest Entertainment in connection with the motion pictures “127 Hours” and “Win-Win.”

He began his legal career in the entertainment department of Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman & Machtinger, where he was directly responsible for many of the firm’s highest-profile accounts, including Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Joel Silver and Playboy TV International. Espinoza previously worked at the Law Offices of Steinberg & Moorad, one of the nation’s preeminent sports law firms.

Espinoza earned a B.A. in Communication from Stanford University and received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law. An active community volunteer, he previously served as the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Echo Park Boys and Girls Club, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA).

He will be based in Showtime Networks’ New York offices.

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