Armed with a billion dollar war chest and a beer in hand, Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn is on the hunt to sign some of the biggest names in boxing. Check out what the promoter had to say about his new streaming service deal with DAZN and what he wants to do to move the sport along...
Hearn on what he wants to achieve with this new $1B streaming deal:
“I needed a partner that was gonna give me a huge amount of dates — 16 we’ve got, which is fantastic — as much money as possible, where we’ve got bigger budgets than HBO and Showtime put together, annually. So I shouldn’t really fail.
“Now the next job is to sign an incredible stable of fighters and to make sure that we produce a schedule for our broadcast partners that is second to none. Really a platform built by the fan for the fans — not coming on air at 10 o’clock to work around a movie — coming on air when we wanna come on air, showing all the undercard, shoulder programming, pre-fight programming, and really try and make a big dent in the market.”
On if the fighters he currently has aligned with HBO and Showtime now coming to this new platform:
“Danny Jacobs remains on HBO. He has still fights on his contract with HBO...we appreciate people that have supported us along the way. You know, Anthony Joshua, will he be part of this platform? Quite possibly. It’s not a deal dependent on him but they’re gonna be very aggressive to try and secure him. Obviously there’s a lot of fighters out there who haven’t got promotional contracts at the moment. They’re going to be wanting to know how much I can offer them and what kind of deal I can offer them so, it’s gonna start getting really interesting.”
On what kind of fights he plans to put on the platform since fans will want marquee names if they have to sign up for another subscription:
“We need to be putting on stronger fight nights than our competitors. We have stronger budgets than our competitors, so really we have no excuse...You’re gonna see us recruit a number of fighters over the next couple of months, a lot of world champions. We also need to build the future talent as well.
“You know we got a situation where, really, you got national champions, Olympic champions, who need to be boxing 7, 8, 9 times a year. We’ve got the ability to do that with the dates. We want to be signing guys on the verge of world titles. We want to be signing pound-for-pound, top 10 fighters, and we’ve got the artillery to do that! And we got to go out and make it happen.”
On which fighters he wants to target in particular:
“I don’t know, any world class fighter who doesn’t have a promotional contract: Deontay Wilder, Charlo, Spence, Mikey Garcia, Adrien Broner. You know, they’re all guys that would be available to sign promotional contracts, and they’re all guys that are gonna wanna know what they offer is — ‘cause they’d be mad not to! So we’ll see.”
On the price-point for this new service being $20/month?:
“No. It could be a rumor. They didn’t wanna announce today because they’re not launching until the end of June. But I had to announce today because you know I’ve got a big mouth, and I couldn’t keep this a secret any longer. And we’re talking to so many fighters who we’ve been able to tell bits of it to, but I needed to get it out in the public domain.
“We’re talking to venues, we’re talking to fighters, so their official announcement will come at the end of June where you’ll learn all that kind of stuff. But remember this isn’t a boxing channel, this is a sports platform. You know, they operate in Canada, in Germany, in Japan — hitting massive numbers in Japan. Look at the content, they got all sports and this is just their initial investment into one sport, and it’s boxing. Thank God. Because they looked at boxing and they said ‘NFL, NBA, that’s coming up, that’s not available at the moment. What is available is Matchroom to produce quality fights in the U.S. market. Praise the lord.
“And it’s my job now to make it work. 16 U.S. fights, 16 of our U.K. fights. So straightaway you’ve got 32 fight nights, plus there will be another announcement in the next few weeks about some more boxing coming on the platform as well. So if you’re a fight fan, I think already you’re gonna get value. But wait until you see what else they acquire over time. They’re a big company, this is backed by Access Industries...they own Warner Music, have a huge stake in Spotify, they’re one of the principal investors into Beats [headphones] — they’re here, they’re not playing games.”
On if he thinks this will be a hard sell to an American fight fans who are already asked to subscribe to premium services like HBO, Showtime, ESPN+, and UFC Fight Pass:
“Again, you’re talking about fight fans. So this is a sports platform. So you will have to see the content that’s available on the platform and make your decision. I think what you’re going to see over time is people moving away from traditional cable subscription and buying individual OTT packages...and maybe it’ll cost you less than is was with your original cable subscription. That’s the way the future’s going...”
On how close we are to a Wilder-Joshua fight:
“We’re talking and we’re communicating...they’re answering our questions. Joshua wants the fight in the U.K., he feels like he’s built the right to have that first fight in the U.K. — I have to agree with him. There’s more money for the fight in the U.S., they’ve made us an offer that’s interesting to us. He doesn’t really need the money, so he just feels like he should fight in the U.K. But we’re talking and communication is good. We’ve kept it out of the media which is a good thing. And I think we’re all moving in the right direction. So whilst we’re talking I think it can only be seen as positive, but we’ll see.”
On when he thinks a breakthrough must happen:
“It has to be really in the next two weeks. Because I think otherwise we’ve got to get planning for what else is happening.”