Matchroom Boxing and Sky Sports are about to part ways.
According to a report posted Wednesday by The Athletic, the promotional company led by Eddie Hearn and the prominent British sports network will end their partnership once their five-year deal expires at the end of June. Starting in July, DAZN will stream all of Matchroom’s boxing matches in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where Sky Sports has exclusively broadcast Matchroom’s fights either live on the network or through its pay-per-view division, Sky Sports Box Office, since 2012.
The DAZN deal reportedly will last five years and is worth “well into nine figures” for Matchroom.
Spokesmen for DAZN and Matchroom declined comment when contacted by BoxingScene.com.
DAZN and Matchroom partnered early in 2018 and mostly have focused their efforts on streaming boxing in the United States. Through that partnership, Matchroom also has become the co-promoter of such stars as Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin.
The Athletic also reported that fights involving IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte won’t be subject to the Matchroom-DAZN expansion into the UK and Ireland. Fights featuring Joshua and Whyte could be streamed by DAZN in the UK and Ireland, but Joshua and Whyte will be free to negotiate with other outlets there on a bout-by-bout basis.
Nevertheless, either annual or monthly DAZN subscriptions should be cheaper options for British boxing fans than the current structure for consuming the sport in England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. While pay-per-view shows in the UK and Ireland are much cheaper than in the United States – typically £19.95, as opposed to $75 or more – fans there commonly complain that too many of Sky Sports’ boxing events wind up on pay-per-view.
DAZN became available in the UK and Ireland in December for £1.99 per month, but Sky Sports maintained exclusive rights there to most fighters under contract with Matchroom.
Sky Sports is expected to carry three more Matchroom shows before their partnership ends, on May 1, May 15 and an undetermined date in June. The May 1 card is a pay-per-view show that’ll match heavyweights Dereck Chisora and Joseph Parker in the main event.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.