Eddie Hearn has warned boxing fans not to write off streaming platform DAZN just yet, despite reports that it is in financial trouble.
A Financial Times report on Saturday claimed the self-proclaimed ‘Netflix of sports’ was feeling the pinch due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, adding that its billionaire owner Len Blavatnik was looking for an investor to guarantee the brand’s future, and would even consider a sale.
Hearn, speaking to his followers on Instagram Live, hit back at the doom mongers who believe the end is nigh for DAZN. He said: “I think Mr Blavatnik’s gonna be just fine. Don’t believe everything you hear, I’ve got meetings on Friday to sort the schedule.
“Every time I post, I’ve got a million bots that go ‘oh yeah, DAZN’s gone broke’. Just wait and see, we’ve got a meeting Friday to discuss the schedule. It ain’t ideal times for anybody – if you’ve got a subscription company that thrives off live sport, and there’s been no live sport, it’s obviously not the best. But we’re cracking on.”
DAZN initially launched in Germany in 2016 and its entry into the United States market in 2018 was almost entirely framed around trying to be a home for fight sports with boxing at the forefront. The platform signed a reported $1bn deal with Hearn’s Matchroom outfit and later inked a $365m pact with Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
A recent announcement said DAZN was about to go global, again with boxing as the main driver, but that launch has been delayed due to the COVID situation.
Meanwhile Hearn again re-iterated his desire for his star attraction Anthony Joshua (whose fights have aired on DAZN in the US) to meet fellow Brit Tyson Fury next year, confirming: “Absolutely, that’s the big plan.”
Hearn, who is planning a lavish four-week Fight Camp in the grounds of Matchroom’s palatial Essex base from July, is also hopeful that he will be able to start promoting arena shows with crowds sooner rather than later.
“I think there’s a chance we could get crowds back in from as early as October, honestly. So we’ll be looking to put the Cardiff show and the Newcastle show about that time and again if that’s not possible, we have to do it behind closed doors. But I’m hopeful that things are getting better.”