DAZN and Matchroom Boxing seal $1bn deal to take the sport to the next level

There was big news for boxing and big news for live-streaming on Thursday night as Perform Group’s DAZN and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing announced a $1bn contract and what they are calling the ‘biggest ever deal in boxing.’

Under the terms of the deal, DAZN will broadcast 16 US fights per year as well as another 16 in the UK. That will ensure that none of the British fights will be on pay-per-view; they will be on Sky Sports for a monthly fee, though no long-term contract would necessarily be needed for that.

“We can build a formidable team of fighters and also put our stamp on events from production to talent to in-arena experience,” said Hearn. “Our plan is to make DAZN the home of boxing and, with 32 big fight nights [a year] already confirmed from the US and UK, we are nicely on our way.”

The news represents a big step forward for boxing. Over the last few years, some massive fights in the UK have garnered huge attention and sold out the likes of Wembley Stadium. Names like Anthony Joshua, Tony Bellew and David Haye have become household names, even while Wladimir Klitschko and Floyd Mayweather have left the stage of top level boxing.

At a time when MMA – and in particular UFC – has shown itself to be a growing force, and when some have predicted that boxing could be in trouble thanks to that rise, a deal of this size clearly shows that the sport is losing none of its lustre.

It’s big news for the live-streaming space, too. Not only is Eddie Hearn attempting to make Matchroom Boxing a force in the US, but DAZN are using this to do very much the same thing. Already active in Germany, Canada and Japan, this will solidify their presence in the USA, and perhaps also solidifies a relationship with a big name in UK sport – one wonders if there’s a view to upping their presence in Britain, where DAZN is already fairly well-known, but hasn’t yet been a big player in the bidding for media rights.

With such a big deal being made by a live-streaming platform, it’s yet more evidence that OTT services are intent on buying up live sports rights.

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 813 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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