The boxing landscape may never be the same again following Thursday’s announcement about Matchroom Boxing’s transatlantic broadcast deal.
It is expected to be in the region of $1billion and will see one of Britain’s leading promotional companies expand their reach by investing in the American market with the help of broadcaster DAZN.
Here’s a lowdown on how it will work:
SO WHAT IS HAPPENING?
On Thursday, Eddie Hearn announced plans to expand Matchroom Boxing’s influence in the US market with a 16-bill yearly programme beamed across America via digital television.
This will begin in September, with Hearn planning for ’12 traditional championship fight nights and four absolute jambusters.’
HOW LONG IS THE DEAL?
It has been reported that the agreement is for eight years with streaming giants DAZN, who have been hailed as ‘the Netflix of sport’.
HOW CAN THEY AFFORD IT?
Perform Group, a global sports media company, are the owners of DAZN and other brands such as sport stats service Opta.
WHO ARE DAZN?
Based in the UK, DAZN – pronounced Da Zone – is akin to Netflix in that it’s a online streaming platform providing multiple services to its users.
The deal has become possible thanks to a partnership with UK-based streaming service DAZN
WHAT IS THEIR USP?
Primarily that they’re cheaper than their subscription rivals and in a more convenient way too, as DAZN CEO James Rushton told Sportsmail in September: ‘We’ve always had one eye on direct-to-consumer subscription play.
‘[We had been] thinking from a fan’s perspective about what was going on in terms of the increasing cost of traditional pay TV sports.
‘It’s a barrier to entry and in some ways it is a negative for fans who just want a good service to watch some tennis, basketball or football and don’t want other products pushed onto them.’
WHO DOES EDDIE HEARN HAVE IN HIS STABLE FROM AMERICA?
Hearn’s main man Stateside is Brooklyn middleweight Daniel Jacobs. The 31-year-old teamed up with Hearn in September and has since headlined both of the Matchroom USA cards to date.
WHO ELSE COULD BE THE FACE OF DAZN IN AMERICA?
Exciting twin brothers Jermell and Jermall Charlo have already been linked with a move to Matchroom while welterweight world champion Keith Thurman is also on Hearn’s hitlist.
He has even made clear a desire to sign WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder to promotional terms as he bids to secure a unification mega-fight with WBA, IBF and WBO king Anthony Joshua.
‘Look at Deontay Wilder – it’s embarrassing that he’s sitting on Instagram filming himself trying to build his profile off Anthony Joshua’s name,’ Hearn said on Thursday.
‘They need help, these guys, the Charlo brothers, Wilder, all these sorts of people.
‘And when we come here in full, starting in September, these guys are all on the radar for Matchroom Boxing USA.’
WHO COULD HEARN AFFORD?
Matchroom Boxing is at the forefront of the UK landscape and with moves to crack America already in place it would seem most fighters could be attainable for Hearn and his promotions.
Before Thurman pulled out of his bout with Danny Garcia due to injury, he was in line to earn $2million (£1.47m) from the purse – a fee that Hearn could also match, for example.
WON’T HE HAVE SOME OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME?
The obvious one will be breaking a market that is dominated by three giants in North America. US promoters such as Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy and the mysterious Al Haymon still boast a formidable foray of fighters within their ranks.
BUT… WHAT ABOUT THE THRIVING UK SCENE?
British boxing is arguably at an all-time high right now with Hearn at the heart of it – led by the brilliance of Joshua. Despite his plans for America, Hearn will also beam an additional 16 shows from these shores into America – thus giving fighters bigger exposure. These fights will remain with Sky Sports in the UK.
WHAT HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT THE DEAL SO FAR?
‘This is an historic moment for Matchroom and the world of boxing. This is fantastic news for UK fight fans on Sky Sports,’ Hearn said.
‘Not only will you have the huge UK fight nights, you will now have 16 monsters from the US to get your teeth into.
‘We have been looking at the US market for some time but we needed a platform that would give us a huge volume of dates and a war chest to build an unrivalled stable within the sport.
‘This will be a platform built by fans for fans from the fights, to the production and presentation team to the build-up.’
Hearn said of the deal that it is ‘an historic moment for Matchroom and the world of boxing’
Head of Sky Sports Boxing, Adam Smith said: ‘The new deal is hugely exciting and offers customers an even bigger schedule of boxing.
‘British boxing is in a really strong place right now, thanks to the emergence of stars like Anthony Joshua and Katie Taylor.
‘With Sky Sports now showing more big name fights from America, the sport will only grow further and encourage the best head-to-head clashes worldwide.’