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Digital sports streaming giant DAZN will become the global home of Matchroom Boxing and its stable of fighters - apart from heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua - beginning in late July this year, with Matchroom chairman Eddie Hearn terminating an 8-year broadcast deal with Sky Sports in the UK.
In a five-year deal reportedly worth nine figures, Matchroom UK fights will be available on DAZN in the UK and Ireland for the first time, with DAZN delivering a nonstop schedule featuring at least 16 exclusive Matchroom UK events annually to fans all around the world.
It represents a game-changing move, cementing DAZN as the new home of boxing in the UK and Ireland but the global home of boxing. It starts on July 31 with three back-to-back weekends of the return of the Matchroom Fight Camp series.
James Rushton, DAZN Co-CEO, said: “Game. Changed. This historic deal builds on the success and momentum of our long-term partnership with Matchroom around the world and solidifies DAZN at the forefront of the global sports streaming era. Together, we are committed to building the new home of boxing in the UK and Ireland while continuing to grow the global home of boxing in a way that matches today’s evolving viewing habits and brings fans all over the world more of the most premium live action, more round-the-clock global storytelling, and more broadcast and content innovations – only on DAZN.”
Hearn, the Matchroom Boxing Chairman, added: “We have made the monumental decision to sign a historic 5-year deal with sports streaming giant DAZN. This means that our UK events will now be broadcast live on DAZN along with all Matchroom shows across the world."
Hearn added: "Pushing the boundaries is something we will always continue to do and we needed a partner that shared our vision for boxing, and who was also willing to make the investment to make those dreams a reality. This is also an amazing opportunity for our newly formed production and content business, Matchroom Media, who will now be responsible for live production across our events, working in close collaboration with DAZN and enabling us to form a cradle to grave mindset across inception to completion of our shows so we can deliver the live event experience to the viewer in the narrative and style in which we have built it."
Why is Eddie Hearn leaving Sky?
For wider, global pastures after an 8-year boxing promotion deal with Sky Sports (25 years with Matchroom Sport in all sports). Hearn explained:
"As we continue Matchroom's expansion worldwide, this new deal will enable us to further cement DAZN as the unrivalled global home of boxing. Our aim, alongside DAZN, is to create the biggest and best live fight nights and deliver a viewing experience that is truly game-changing. It’s a historic deal. For 25 years plus we’ve been aligned with Sky Sports and recently moving into the American market with DAZN and of course across their global platform as well. But this deal of course in our key market in the UK is something that we’re extremely proud of. It’s probably the most exciting move as a business we’ve ever made and we feel like it’s a huge opportunity not just for our business but our fighters, the fans, and also for British boxing because now we have the firepower and the artillery to change the face of the sport here in the UK in terms of the fights we’re making, in terms of the value we’re giving fight fans and subscribers, and also of course the chance for us to move globally as a business aligning with the DAZN global platform to move into another number of markets that we’ve seen in Italy and Spain and in America and some big new markets we will announce in due course as well."
What are the production changes for Matchroom/DAZN broadcasts?
"This is, of course, a huge move for us in the UK but also for the launch of our global and content production business, Matchroom Media, who will now be in close collaboration with DAZN producing all the live events across our schedule and also across content and also developing and confirming the talent team which will be the absolutely very best commentators, presentation teams, analytical talent in the business.""This is something we are extremely excited about. It wasn’t an easy decision. We’ve had a great run with Sky but to be honest this was an opportunity we could not miss as a business and as a sport. So we cannot wait to get cracking and get cracking we shall on July 31 at Fight Camp with a three-week run and we’ll be holding an event here in the middle of June at Maskells to unveil the full schedule and also announcing over the next few days and weeks the stellar talent roster that we will be building for our live production and we cannot wait to get moving with this exciting announcement."
Who are DAZN and what is their game plan?
DAZN are the most formidable, and largest, digital provider for sport in the marketplace. Their plan is to become 'The Netflix of sport'. As Joe Markowski, Executive Vice President of DAZN explained:
"This is a pretty historic, game changing deal for us and for Matchroom. We’re obviously very proud to build on the success of our global boxing business now and our long-term partnership with Matchroom. What fans can expect is unprecedented value. Value not only through a low cost DAZN subscription, a result of our long-term vision of making premium sport affordable for fans around the world, but you will also get more boxing – more premium fights from Matchroom UK and all the Matchroom events worldwide. There’s a renewed commitment as part of this deal in the US, in Italy, in Spain, and there will be more markets that we’ll announce soon. And more events featuring the best local talents. All of that value on top of the content we carry from Golden Boy, from GGG promotions, and from our various different promotional deals around the world. We’ll be continuing our introductory monthly price of 1.99 a month. More ease, more flexibility, and that’s only possible through an app like ourselves. Delivering the content on any screen, on any device, particularly starting with your living room TV."
Which Hearn fighters will be on DAZN - and what about Anthony Joshua?
The entire Matchroom Boxing roster will be on the DAZN platform - except for Anthony Joshua - who has an ongoing deal with Sky Box Office in the UK. Joshua's next contest, for example, if it is against Oleksandr Usyk, the WBO mandatory heavyweight title challenger, will be on Sky Box Office.
How can I watch it and how much do I have to pay?
Fans in the UK and Ireland will have accessibility to watch the boxing output anytime, anywhere, and on any device, for the initial monthly price of just £1.99 in the UK and €1.99 in Ireland – a special limited-time offer that will remain in place throughout the return of the Matchroom Fight Camp series, which Hearn developed last year during the pandemic lockdown.
Where does this leave Sky and BT Sport?
Sky and BT Sport will continue their programming but in particular Sky Sports are understood to have been in talks with global promoter's worldwide including Al Haymon, of Premier Boxing Champions, Bob Arum, of Top Rank Inc, and the newly-created Wasserman Boxing organisation.