Promoter Eddie Hearn reckons that his old broadcast partner, Sky Sports, have stuck around in the sport due to a competitive drive born from their split.
In June 2021, the worst kept secret in the sport was made official. Matchroom were to leave long term partner, Sky Sports, to team up with streaming service, DAZN, in a global broadcast deal. The two companies had already worked together on Matchroom’s US output.
It marked a long and prosperous relationship with Sky Sports – although it wasn’t to be the end of the road for the broadcasting giant’s boxing involvement. They quickly partnered with Ben Shalom’s BOXXER and staged shows included Kell Brook versus Amir Khan.
Speaking to the Ball & Brawl Podcast, Hearn first addressed the promotional landscape.
“The crazy thing about boxing is that promotional companies will receive investment. We’ve seen it with Al Haymon, we see it with BOXXER. Once the money burns out everything changes, but during that period you have to compete with all the new boys. I’ve seen it time and time again.
PBC come in with 400 million of private investment – gone. Now you’ve got other promotional companies that have investment, they’ll make mistakes, they’ll lose money, but the people that benefit are the fighters, and the managers, and the trainers, and everybody.
So now you’re in a position where we leave Sky, we have this huge budget, but then Sky step back up – purely to have a pop at me, really.”
When asked if he thought Sky partnered up with a new promotional company and doubled down their investment in the sport was due to the split, Hearn said yes.
“Totally. Listen, Sky were going nowhere with boxing. We convinced them to have a run at boxing. And what they’ve done in boxing has been amazing for the sport. Great platform. But, when we left, it become personal.”
“Sky had the raving hump when I left. They felt that they built me and ultimately built me to a position of power and then we left. Which is actually true. But, what they decided to do was – which is great for boxing – rather than go ‘do you know what, we’re not doing boxing’ no, ‘let’s go on the attack.’
F**k Eddie Hearn. Not in a horrible way because I’m still friends with everybody there but just in a competitive nature.”
With more broadcasters and promoters than ever, it should mean that fans can see the sport they love more often. The negative outlook, however, is show clashes, deal disputes, and doomed-to-fail negotiations.