The news was seismic on Thursday afternoon when Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing announced a five-year UK deal with DAZN – and the immediate reaction from Hearn himself was understandably full of excitement for the future.
When DAZN launched its US operation in 2018, it did so with the aim that the platform was “the future of boxing everywhere”. Now says Hearn, while the future is still being built, the moneybags platform is already the home of the sport.
Speaking on the DAZN Boxing show, the promoter said: “We’re no longer the future of boxing – we are boxing. We are the home of boxing. The future of boxing is something that is embryonic and needs to be built. DAZN is no longer in that position. DAZN is the unrivalled global home of boxing.”
Thursday’s news was the worst-kept ‘secret’ in boxing, but its confirmation still caused shockwaves in one of the sport’s biggest global markets.
Eddie Hearn on DAZN UK deal
Hearn said: “Some game-changing news. After 25 years with Sky Sports in the UK we’ve now signed an exclusive deal with DAZN in the UK. A new five-year deal for UK fight fans to see a minimum of 16 events in the UK plus all our events across our global schedule as well.
“A major day for our business, a major day for our fighters and a major day for our sport, and can’t wait to get started with Fight Camp at the end of July.
“We’ve had a great ride with DAZN in the US and globally as well with the launch of the global platform. And particularly the success DAZN has had even in the embryonic stage in the UK has been particularly encouraging.
“They shared my vision for boxing, obviously they made the investment as well that needed to be made to make these historic fight nights in the UK. It was such a big opportunity for our fighters, for our business and for the fans as well.
“It’s really exciting times – a new era for boxing here in the UK and we can’t wait to get cracking.”
Why did Eddie Hearn leave Sky?
Matchroom, with Hearn’s father Barry before him, had been partnered with Sky for around a quarter of a century in the UK. Parting wasn’t easy after such a long and successful run.
Eddie admitted: “We’ve been with Sky Sports for such a long time. It was a great deal with Sky and it was a great relationship. Something major had to happen for us to leave that platform. Of course it was the opportunity to create just incredible fight nights in the UK with huge fights and huge opportunity for our fighters.
“It’s also about Matchroom Media now running the UK production and building a team of talent. Over here, if you think that the US fight fans are critical of the presentation team, you should see them in the UK. Wow! It’s almost like as important as the fight. So we’re gonna be building the best commentary, the best presentation, the best analytical team for DAZN.”
Hearn said when he signed that landmark $1billion DAZN US deal back in 2018, a UK partnership really wasn’t part of the longer-term plan. But events since then made this a no-brainer.
“When we went to the US with DAZN there was talks that one day they might launch in the UK – it wasn’t really a longer term plan.
“But the launch of this global product for DAZN – sitting alongside our dreams of that global expansion for boxing – and also the value for money that DAZN is providing for subscribers – not just in the US.
PPV cost is outrageous – Hearn
“You look now at the run of pay-per-view events coming up in the US, it’s outrageous. You’re spending about 500 bucks over the next six weeks in the US to watch boxing. But in the UK as well.
“Together, with their investment with the dreams and the vision that we have, we are well on the way to making DAZN the unrivalled global home of boxing. And the UK is a key market, a really big market where we have a great presence, we have a great profile, we have a tremendous stable of fighters.
“And you’re gonna see those international fighters boxing more frequently now around the world. You’ve been seeing it with our UK fighters – you just saw last weekend Martin Ward, Chantelle Cameron, Ramla Ali – UK fighters fighting in America. You’re now gonna see UK fighters also fighting in the UK and in all our territories around the world on DAZN.
“It was never a part of the plan when we moved to America. But the vision that we’ve shared with DAZN has meant that this opportunity was too big for us to miss out on.”