Pay-per-view boxing 'will end in tears,' says Eddie Hearn

The landmark broadcast agreement between streaming giant DAZN and Hearn's Matchroom Boxing has been tipped as the beginning of the end for pay-per-view boxing

Simon Collings
Thursday 13 September 2018 16:34 BST
Anthony Joshua focusing on cementing his legacy

Promoter Eddie Hearn believes pay-per-view boxing “will end in tears” due to the market being saturated with fights.

In May of this year Hearn reached a landmark broadcast agreement with streaming giant DAZN, which has been dubbed the ‘Netflix of Sport’.

The groundbreaking deal is worth around $1bn (£740m) to Matchroom Boxing, which will stage 16 fights a year for eight years on DAZN, and was tipped by many as the beginning of the end for pay-per-view boxing.

Its effect will most likely be felt in America, where none of the fights will be shown on pay-per-view and all will be available for one monthly fee and no long-term contract.

And Hearn believes there is simply not the appetite to match the high number of fights currently being broadcast on a pay-per-view basis.

“I think pay-per-view will end in tears at some point because what will happen is…. We are in a strong position because our platform is solid, proven,” said Hearn.

“But what will happen is other fighters will take risks on pay-per-views that won’t work. [Josh] Warrington v [Carl] Frampton, if it did 100,000 buys on pay-per-view I’d be astonished.

“And if we go on the 22nd [December for Dillian Whyte v Dereck Chisora] it won’t do 50,000 buys. So how are the fighters going to make any money? Too much pay-per-view, you can’t say it is good for boxing because it is not.

“You look between September and December, you have Canelo [Alvarez] and [Gennady] Golovkin. What does that do? 30,000-40,000 [in the UK]?

“You have Joshua v Povetkin. Parker did 1.2 million, which was huge, but they expect another seven figures for Povetkin.

“Then you have [George] Groves against [Callum] Smith on a Friday night, which will struggle. October nothing – great news.

“Then hopefully we have Usyk-Bellew 10 November. They will do 3 November for Josh Taylor and [Ryan] Burnett, then 1 December reportedly Fury-Wilder, then the 8th could be Pacquiao-Khan, then 22 December (Whyte v Chisora).”

Joshua takes on Povetkin later this month (Getty)

While Hearn believes pay-per-view boxing could be on the way out, he has dismissed concerns about Anthony Joshua’s ticket sales ahead of his showdown with Alexander Povetkin a week on Saturday.

Heavyweight champion Joshua is putting his WBA, WBO and IBF belts on the line against Povetkin at Wembley, but it was reported sales had failed to match the demand of his three previous stadium fights. Hearn, however, is not worried.

“It’s 80,000. We had done 70,000 a month ago,” he said. “It has been slower than Klitschko and Parker.

“We have had to work a bit harder this time. Normally when you go on sale with an Anthony Joshua fight it just goes ‘ping’.

“You will always have bits and pieces with fighters bringing tickets back. The VIP tickets, at £2,000 each, sold out in 20 minutes. We will have over 80,000 in there. He has sold over 300,000 tickets for his last four fights.

“He is not the type of person that will push his own fights, which still baffles me. He has got five million followers on social media but he doesn’t like to say: ‘Hey guys, this is Anthony Joshua, don’t forget to get tickets’.

“He would never, ever, ever do something like a video selling tickets. That is him.”

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