On Tuesday it was announced that Eddie Hearn will become chairman of Matchroom Sport, taking over from his father Barry
Promoter Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing are on the verge of signing a record nine-figure multi-year deal with digital streaming service DAZN. It will break an eight-year partnership with Sky Sports and comes 24 hours after Hearn became chairman of the sports promotional company, taking over from his father, Barry.
The deal, Telegraph Sport understands, is likely to begin from July 1 but is not yet complete. Hearn told Telegraph Sport on Wednesday night: “I am not commenting on speculation. We have a contract with Sky, who have been excellent long-standing partners.”
According to a report in The Athletic on Wednesday evening, DAZN “will now see many of Matchroom’s premium British roster, including Callum Smith, Conor Benn, Katie Taylor and Lawrence Okolie, added to DAZN’s blockbuster schedule.
“Hearn had previously held an exclusive UK and Ireland deal with Sky Sports since 2012, and last signed a six-year contract with the broadcaster in 2015, showcasing 120 fights a year.”
Matchroom Boxing still have two more shows assigned to Sky Sports, on May 15, featuring light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi in Manchester, England, according to The Athletic’s boxing insider Mike Coppinger.
That will take place a week after DAZN streams the Canelo Alvarez-Billy Joe Saunders super middleweight fight at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The final Sky Sports show with Hearn and Matchroom will take place in June.
The move makes sense, with Hearn increasing Matchroom Boxing’s output – through DAZN – in the United States, and several European countries, as the DAZN digital network grows globally. DAZN is owned by the British billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik.
Hearn explained 18 days ago: “We haven’t made any decisions on what we’re doing to do. Sky isn’t just going to replace us with whatever option. They’re going to lose a huge powerhouse of subscription driver. But we’re in discussions, we may even extend that deal.
“Of course DAZN are extremely aggressive in that space at the moment. You’re only really as powerful as your TV deal in this game. The reason we’ve been able to get to where we got to as because of the backing of Sky.”
He added: “We don’t take that for granted. That’s why these conversations are very difficult at the moment. Anyone can say they’re going to take over boxing, but without a significant TV deal you have absolutely no chance. We are set to become the UFC of boxing. It’s only a matter of time.”