Matchroom Boxing is on the verge of inking a ‘record-breaking’ agreement with sports streaming service DAZN, which will replace Sky Sports as the company’s exclusive UK broadcast partner, according to reports.
Following the announcement that Eddie Hearn will succeed his father Barry Hearn as Chairman of the Matchroom Sport brand upon his retirement, the promoter has struck a landmark rights arrangement with DAZN said to be worth ‘well into nine figures’, The Athletic has reported.
The deal could end Matchroom Boxing’s almost 10-year-long association with Sky, having initially partnered with the pay-television broadcaster in 2012 for the exclusive UK and Ireland rights to the promoter’s events. The deal was extended for a further six years in 2015 to showcase 120 fights a year.
Matchroom Boxing’s new agreement with DAZN will come into effect on 1 July, with two final events set to air on Sky before its deal comes to a close.
The first show, scheduled for 15 May at the AO Arena in Manchester, will be headlined by light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi, with the final event pencilled for the following month of June.
Hearn has previously lauded DAZN as ‘the future of boxing’, having collaborated the emerging streaming service in the past. In 2019, DAZN announced a joint venture with Matchroom Boxing that saw the platform broadcast a show from Barcelona, continuing the service’s global expansion.
In an interview with Insider Sport earlier last year, Sky’s Head of Boxing, Adam Smith declared that both the Sky Sports and Sky Box Office were ‘absolutely flying’ as a result of the Matchroom tie-up.
“I said to Eddie this time last year, ‘come on, where are all the big domestic shows?’ And he delivers, he always delivers,” Smith explained in March 2020. “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.”
Commenting on DAZN’s entry into the UK market at the time, Smith added: “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.”
However, the new partnership will not include heavyweight champion and Matchroom’s main attraction Anthony Joshua or Jamaica-born Dillian Whyte, The Athletic added. The marquee duo ‘will need to be separately negotiated a la carte’, the report stated.