Promoter Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing are set to sign a record nine-figure multi-year deal with digital streaming service DAZN. It will sever an eight-year partnership with Sky Sports and comes 24 hours after Hearn became president of the sports promotion company, succeeding his father, Barry.
The agreement, Sport Telegraph understands, is likely to start from July 1 but is not yet complete. Hearn said Sport Telegraph Wednesday night: “I’m not commenting on the speculation. We have a contract with Sky, who are great long-time partners.”
According to a report in Athletic On Wednesday night, DAZN “will now see many members of Matchroom’s premium UK lineup, including Callum Smith, Conor Benn, Katie Taylor and Lawrence Okolie, added to DAZN’s blockbuster schedule.
“Hearn had previously entered into an exclusive UK-Ireland deal with Sky Sports since 2012, and last signed a six-year contract with the broadcaster in 2015, featuring 120 fights per year.”
Matchroom Boxing has two more shows awarded to Sky Sports on May 15, featuring light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi in Manchester, England, according to AthleticMike Coppinger, a boxing insider.
It will take place a week after DAZN airs the Canelo Alvarez-Billy Joe Saunders super middleweight fight at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The last Sky Sports show with Hearn and Matchroom will take place in June.
The move makes sense, with Hearn ramping up production of Matchroom Boxing – via DAZN – in the United States and several European countries, as the DAZN digital network expands globally. DAZN is owned by British billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik.
Hearn explained 18 days ago, “We haven’t made any decisions about what we’re doing. Sky isn’t just going to replace us with some option. They are going to lose enormous subscription driver power. But we are in discussion, we could even extend this agreement.
“Of course DAZN is extremely aggressive in this space at the moment. You really aren’t as powerful as your TV offering in this game. The reason we were able to get to where we are is because of the support from Sky. “
He added: “We don’t take this for granted. This is why these conversations are very difficult at the moment. Anyone can say he’s going to resume boxing, but without a meaningful TV deal, you have absolutely no chance. We are ready to become the UFC of boxing. It’s just a matter of time.”