According to news, Matchroom Boxing is close to signing a “record-breaking” deal with sports streaming service DAZN, which will replace Sky Sports as the company’s exclusive UK broadcast partner.
Following the news that Eddie Hearn will succeed his father Barry Hearn as Chairman of Matchroom Sport following his retirement, The Athletic reports that the promoter has signed a landmark rights deal with DAZN worth “well into nine figures.”
Sky’s 10-year partnership coming to a close
The agreement will bring an end to Matchroom Boxing’s almost 10-year partnership with Sky, which began in 2012 when the promoter partnered with the pay-television broadcaster for exclusive UK and Ireland rights to the promoter’s events. In 2015, the contract was extended for another six years, bringing the total number of fights to 120 a year.
Matchroom Boxing’s new contract with DAZN goes into effect on July 1, with two final events scheduled to air on Sky until the deal expires.
Light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi will headline the first event, which will take place on May 15 at the AO Arena in Manchester, with the final event set for June.
Extending global reach
Hearn has previously praised DAZN as “the future of boxing,” and has previously partnered with the fledgling streaming service. DAZN announced a partnership with Matchroom Boxing in 2019 that saw the network broadcast a show from Barcelona, extending the service’s global reach.
Sky’s Head of Boxing, Adam Smith, told Insider Sport earlier this year that the Matchroom tie-up had resulted in both Sky Sports and Sky Box Office being “absolutely flying.”
Back in March 2020 Smith said: “I said to Eddie this time last year, ‘come on, where are all the big domestic shows?’ And he delivers, he always delivers.
“Matchroom and Sky have an amazing partnership. We speak every day and normally we agree on things. Occasionally we have a little debate – a slightly heated one – but we get on with it.”
Smith said, when asked about DAZN’s entrance into the UK market at the time: “Whether that be on Sky Sports, BT or DAZN, it’s the consumers’ choice, but value for money is incredibly important and I believe we give that.”
The current relationship, however, would exclude heavyweight champion and Matchroom’s main attraction Anthony Joshua, as well as Jamaican-born Dillian Whyte, according to The Athletic. According to the study, the marquee pair would have to be negotiated separately a la carte.