Huge news for UK boxing breaking today as reports suggest Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing are leaving Sky Sports to go all in with DAZN.
For the last two years Hearn and Matchroom have worked with both broadcasters. He has had a long and successful pact with Sky in the UK, and signed a $1billion eight-year deal with DAZN in the United States in 2018.
With his Sky contract due for renewal in the summer, there has been speculation for weeks that he could make the huge move to walk away from the biggest pay TV broadcaster in the UK. And now – according to Mike Coppinger of The Athletic – it has happened.
Eddie Hearn DAZN deal
Coppinger wrote: “The five-year contract ends Matchroom’s almost decade-long exclusive broadcast relationship with Sky Sports in the UK and strengthens the growing partnership between Hearn and DAZN.
“It will now see many of Matchroom’s premium British and Irish roster, including Callum Smith, Conor Benn, Katie Taylor and Lawrence Okolie, added to DAZN’s blockbuster schedule.”
Since 2018, Hearn’s shows in the United States have been exclusively on DAZN, while Anthony Joshua fights have also aired on the streaming platform Stateside.
Per Coppinger, the DAZN deal in the UK kicks in on July 1. For the self-styled ‘Netflix of sports’ it is a huge step forward in its bid to dominate boxing globally. The UK – per capita – is arguably the biggest boxing market of all and Hearn and Matchroom is the biggest do.
What does this mean for that Fury vs Joshua superfight planned for July or August you might ask? Well it appears that will still be showed on Sky in the UK as the DAZN deal does not include Joshua or fellow elite heavyweight Dillian Whyte. Meanwhile ESPN+ will have the call in the United States as it has an exclusive relationship with Fury. DAZN is likely to have rights everywhere else in the world.
DAZN now a global behemoth
DAZN, which launched a global service in December 2020 at a price of £1.99 per month, already has megastars like P4P king ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, ‘GGG’ Gennadiy Golovkin and rising star Ryan Garcia on its platform. And the signing of Hearn pretty much gives it world domination.
Hearn has spoken openly in recent weeks about wanting to take more of a lead in the production of original content and shoulder programming. Something DAZN is likely to be more open to than Sky.
There has been a noticeable uplift in the amount and style of content appearing on Matchroom’s channels, and it recently launched a new arm of its business – Matchroom Media (with Hearn’s sister Katie as CEO).
It is turning into a seismic week for Eddie Hearn – a man at the peak of his promotional powers. He became Chairman of the overall Matchroom group of companies on Monday, with father Barry stepping aside into an advisory capacity.
He is also in the final straight of negotiating the first Fury vs Joshua fight, while 70,000 fans are expected to pack AT&T Stadium in Texas on May 8 for his Canelo vs Saunders show. That again will air globally on DAZN.
Some fans may wonder why the deal is so great for DAZN in the UK if it doesn’t include Joshua or Whyte?
Well these are just some of the reasons:
- It makes the cost right now more manageable for DAZN without AJ and Joshua
- DAZN only costs £1.99 in the UK – even without AJ and Whyte this is huge for building it subscriber base
- How many people who watch all boxing on Sky wouldn’t pay £1.99 to watch the same content on DAZN?
- It allows Hearn and Joshua to maximise the value of the latter’s fights on an ongoing basis
- This doesn’t preclude DAZN from bidding for Joshua and Whyte fights – they just do it separately