The president of HBO Sports, Peter Nelson, is leaving the company, Awful Announcing reported on August 10. The news comes amid a restructuring and the layoff of 600 people across the AT&T portfolio, HBO’s parent company. However, the outlet reported that Nelson’s departure is not a layoff and that he is leaving “on his own terms.”
Although Nelson was a major figure at HBO, he made headlines this year for a different reason: his connection to Barstool Sports’ Call Her Daddy podcast. Nelson, who was dating one of the original co-hosts of the podcast, Sofia Franklyn, was said to be one of the main reasons behind the split between Franklyn and her co-host, Alexandra Cooper. At the time, Dave Portnoy, the Barstool Sports boss, spoke out against Nelson’s influence and interference in the co-hosts’ contract negotiations.
When news broke of Nelson’s upcoming departure from HBO Sports, Portnoy took to social media to celebrate, referring to him as “Suitman,” which was what Franklyn called him while hosting Call Her Daddy.
Portnoy Posted a Series of Tweets After Nelson’s Departure, Celebrating the News
Portnoy took to Twitter to share his reaction at the news of Nelson’s HBO Sports exit. He first shared the link to Awful Announcing’s news report and posted the following video:
He said he is currently in the Hamptons and was enjoying a lovely meal when he received a text: “My friend, Peter Nelson, out at HBO. Suitman, gone. Kicked out. No job, no life, no future. Suitman. Who the f*** did he think he was messing with?” He ends the video by saying, “Your network just fired you. I’m on a two-month vacation. Best of luck Suitman.”
He later posted a photo of a bottle of Dom Perignon and wrote, “Put this on ice for when I get home tomorrow #suitman.” Shortly after, he reposted a video from earlier in the year when the feud was unfolding with the Call Her Daddy podcast co-hosts. He added as the caption, “Don’t say I didn’t try to warn him #suitman.”
Nelson has not yet issued a public statement about his departure or responded to Portnoy’s comments.
Nelson Became the Head of HBO Sports in 2015 After Joining the Network in 2011
Nelson joined HBO Sports in 2011 and quickly rose through the company, eventually receiving a promotion to run the sports division in 2015. According to an ESPN piece on his promotion, it was not surprising due to his “stunningly fast rise.”
During his tenure as the head of HBO Sports, the network was recognized in 2019 with the Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Long Documentary for Momentum Generation. Nelson was also behind the long-term renewal of Hard Knocks with the NFL. In 2019, the Sports Business Journal named Nelson to its list of “Forty Under 40.”
According to Awful Announcing, Nelson’s departure is seen as a reflection of HBO Sports’ declining importance in the overall structure of the company. HBO has stepped away from its boxing content, and although it has continued to produce documentaries, the network has produced less overall sports content.