Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing is set to leave Sky Sports to join DAZN in a big-money deal.
Hearn, who promotes some of British boxing’s biggest stars, is said to have signed a contract in the region of £100 million with the new streaming app, meaning fight stars such as Lawrence Okolie, Conor Benn, and Katie Taylor will no longer be appearing on Sky Sports.
After operating under the banner for 12 years, Hearn’s deal with Sky Sports is set to expire in June of this year, meaning Taylor’s scheduled bout with Natasha Jonas on May 1 will be her final bout on the network.
Hearn also co-promotes heavyweight superstars such as Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte, but the pair are not part of Matchroom and are free to make their own decisions regarding which station (or app) their next fights appear on.
Hearn is thought to have had four concrete offers on the table for Matchroom but, clearly impressed with DAZN’s vision for the future of boxing, he’s opted to take his stable there.
In a recent interview, per The Sun, Hearn said:
“Sky aren’t just going to replace us with a B-option, well not even a B-option, whatever option that is.
“They’re going to lose a huge powerhouse of subscription driver. Of course, we know DAZN are extremely aggressive in that space at the moment but 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 is because of the backing of Sky and we don’t take that for granted. They’ve been a huge part of our success and that’s why these conversations are very difficult at the moment.
“You can also understand that if I was to make a broadcast move, it would be for a reason. We’ve got no reason to leave Sky outside of something that would change our life, our vision for the sport, and our fighters’ lives as well.”
“It’s an extremely difficult decision for us but it’s flattering. But we’ve worked hard to get here. We really have built an incredible global business and that’s part of the decision making process; the global landscape.”
Having signed a £740 million deal with DAZN for 16 US shows in 2018, this won’t be Hearn’s first encounter with the streaming app.
The Essex-born promoter has his sights set on creating a business model similar to that of Dana White’s UFC, adding:
“We’ve turned our business around in America. We have Canelo Alvarez out there.
“We have shows in Uzbekistan, we were in Gibraltar, we are in Miami, then Barcelona, then Manchester for the pay-per-view on Sky, then we’re in Dallas, then back in the UK for a show on May 15, then we’re in Milan. It’s just unbelievable.
“We are the global force, we are probably the only global force. There’s no one else touching what we are doing or even making a charge globally.
We are set to become the UFC of boxing and it’s only a matter of time.
This lucrative new deal with DAZN looks set to be a highly lucrative venture for both Hearn and the boxers in the Matchroom stable.
Nonetheless, in these economically uncertain times, UK fight fans will no doubt be left wondering if they will now need to sign up for yet another service in order to watch elite British bouts