Digital sports media specialist Perform Group has agreed an eight-year deal worth $1bn (€840m) with Matchroom Boxing that will lead to the creation of a US-based joint venture, Matchroom Boxing USA.
The venture will stage 16 fights per year in the US, with Perform’s streaming service, DAZN, having exclusive rights to the bouts, as well as Matchroom’s 16 annual UK fight nights.
Perform will own just under half of the joint venture, with DAZN set to launch in the US this summer, according to the Bloomberg news agency.
“The US boxing market has almost eaten itself alive,” Perform chief executive Simon Denyer said. “It’s pushed anything compelling to pay-per-view, and the pricing is now around $100, which is insane. It needs to be blown up. The whole thing needs to be rethought.”
The US fight nights will also have lengthy undercards – borrowing a format that Matchroom has used successfully in the UK.
Matchroom is the promoter behind unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
John Skipper, the former ESPN executive who joined Perform as executive chairman on Monday, said: “DAZN has already proven itself in Japan, Germany and Canada as the best platform for delivering great live sport to passionate fans. It’s time to bring DAZN to America and the amazing events we have planned with Matchroom is a great place to start.”
Eddie Hearn, managing director of Matchroom Boxing, added: “This is a historic moment for Matchroom and the sport of boxing. Since our expansion to the US, we have been looking for a partner that shares our vision and that can give us the volume of dates and rights fees required to build the strongest stable in world boxing and take it to a new level.
“This is a dream scenario for us, we can build a formidable team of fighters and also put our stamp on events from production to talent to in arena experience. Our plan is to make DAZN the home of boxing and with 32 big fight nights already confirmed from the US and UK we are nicely on our way."