The Rise & Rise of Eddie Hearn

Eddie Hearn has been a promoter of record for 3 years 5 months & 19 days.  That’s 1,267 days. In that time he has put on 64 shows (inclusive of this weekend’s event in Manchester) or more than 1 every 20 days. He’s taken elite level British professional boxing to 28 different venues (26 in the UK) – ranging from small halls via major arenas to one very iconic stadium. It has been – to put it mildly – a meteoric rise for the now still just 36 year old from Brentwood.

Whats more is Hearn has managed to spread high end professional boxing shows throughout the United Kingdom – almost 70% of his shows to date have been outside of London. Liverpool, Hull, Sheffield, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Belfast, Cardiff & Blackpool have all been the scene of multiple Matchroom shows since Eddie took over.

Hearn has embraced & thrived in the social media era – accumulating more Twitter followers than 99% of professional boxers in the world: 253,000 odd & counting. Additionally Eddie has done something so overdue it beggars belief – he’s cross-pollinated the monstrous SkySports football following with the remnants of disillusioned boxing fans that existed back in early 2012.

British boxing was frankly on its knees after a brutal 2011 – Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye on Sky Box Office Pay-Per-View was the sort of event that under other circumstances might have been British boxing’s Waterloo.

Fun Fact: How old is Eddie Hearn? 

Edward John Hearn was born in June of 1979; making him 37 years & 2 months old as of August 2016. That month Larry Holmes TKOs Mike Weaver in 12 rounds for the heavyweight title. Muhammad Ali also confirmed that his 3rd retirement was final that month (it wasn’t).

“We spend too much time trying to do deals on boxing for a limited return and do not think it’s fair on our audience to ask them to pay more for boxing,” said a senior Sky executive at the time. Additionally around this time a dispute with Amir Khan’s management (over the screening of his fight with Zab Judah) combined to persuade Sky to suspend pay per view boxing indefinitely.

Eddie Hearn’s role in ensuring that a) indefinitely turned out to be a relatively short time & b) Sky now have a point-man ‘doing the deals’ to get big fights & maintain the premium quality of their product can not be overstated.

Eddie Hearn
Eddie Hearn is the undisputed #1 promoter in the United Kingdom & most viable one on the planet today.

Of course Hearn’s few vocal detractors will complain about noncompetitive cards & of course that infamous (to the hardcore) Bellew vs Cleverly 2 card. What I’d say to them is simple: market forces dictate the actions of market participants & if 375,000 people forked out £16.95 for a product guess what? That’s a VERY marketable product anyway you want to cut it. If the hardcore don’t like that then frankly their quarrel is with the mindset of the market not the market participant who is simply serving the needs of the market.

The Eddie phenomenon relied heavily on his ability to attract the likes of Ricky Burns; Scott Quigg; Tony Bellew & other high profile fighters to his stable. Equally it has been built on finding & promoting guys with strong links within their own communities & the ability to sell 500 to 1,500 tickets each per fight – not earth shattering individually, but collectively it has allowed Hearn to build profitable shows the only way an accountant’s son would – brick by brick.

Matchroom under the younger Hearn have invested in promoting an array of commercial machines – from the blockbusters of the future in Anthony Joshua to the dependable four figure ticket sellers in Josh Warrington, John Wayne Hibbert & Tommy Martin. The dual strategy is another masterful risk aversion technique – it spreads the risk of unforeseeable events – no single brick in the Matchroom stable empire is irreplaceable. Not even an Anthony Joshua. Eddie isn’t throwing Hail Mary passes – he has larger & smaller assets for sure; but the spread between the two is thoughtful & premeditated & doesn’t leave him at the mercy of what still is, let’s not forget, a sport in which all bets can be off with a single well timed punch.

The exclusive contract extension through at least 2021 with SkySports means that we’re only in the embryonic phases of the Eddie Hearn era. What he can go on to achieve is, to put it bluntly, frightening to conceptualize. Considering he rose to a 68% market share of all British boxing event ticket revenue in only his third calendar year in the sport I don’t think its hyperbolic to posit that his future success is in effect the future commercial well-being & vitality of our sport in this country. That’s a very heavy burden for anyone to carry. Its also an opportunity the likes of which few will ever know – in whatever sphere.

Eddie Hearn & The SkySports PPV Revolution

Perhaps most controversially Hearn has taken over British boxing at a time where PPV is becoming more & more a reality of the sport’s delivery to market in the United Kingdom. Buying a fight via PPV has never been easier. It is this ease of purchase on a whim via an impulse buy that has swollen PPV buy rates – although publicly divulged or claimed numbers are still fictional by definition – there is a 20-45% inflation in the number of those buying simply as a result of the ease with which a purchase can now be made – namely two clicks of a remote control. Transactional revenues for Sky PLC totalled some £173 million in 2015 –  this included their Buy and Keep service (£45 million); NOW TV transactions (£13 million); Sky Movies Box Office, Sky Sports Box Office (which includes both boxing & WWE wrestling) and Sky 3D Box Office.

SkySports Box Office
Eddie Hearn has facilitated a SkySports Box Office which is pumping money from offerings previously unimaginable through steering mastery.

It is worth noting that the WWE provide around 9 different PPV events on Sky Sports Box Office per year – whilst boxing offers at least 2 with a 3rd or even 4th possible in years where major fights sporadically take place. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that we are moving toward an era where half a dozen or more boxing PPV events take place per year on Sky.

So who is Eddie? I’d say the most obviously underestimated traits he possesses are those of the genuine, full blooded, boxing fan. Like recognizes likes & as an obsessively passionate boxing fan myself I see the telltale signs of addictive fandom in Hearn. Whilst almost every sentence I’ve ever been told by every other promoter I’ve ever spoken with has vacillated between a one sided rendition of the truth & propaganda Goebbels would have been proud of – Hearn is different – he shows a willingness to positively & constructively engage with points of view that diverge from his own existing ones. You get the impression that you’re talking to someone not having someone talk at you.

Eddie’s 64 Not Out

London 20 (31.25%)

Liverpool 8

Hull 5

Sheffield 5

Manchester 4

Glasgow 4

Leeds 3

Belfast 3

Cardiff 2

Blackpool 2

Bolton 1

Birmingham 1

Newcastle 1

New Jersey 1

Dublin 1

Wolverhampton 1

Eddie Hearn Net Worth

Matchroom Sport did £34,389,680 in revenue between 1 July 2014 & 30 June 2015. This of course includes father Barry Hearns’ interests in snooker, darts & various other sports – though, boxing, one imagines constitutes the core of the Hearn business empire to this day. The company’s website claim ticket sales across all sports of some 500,000 per year.

Ownership in Matchroom is split in the following manner

Barry Hearn 7,920 Shares
Eddie Hearn 2,000 Shares
Catherine Hearn 2,000 Shares
Susan Hearn 1,920 Shares
They enjoy an A credit rating – ‘considered highly likely to be able to meet their commitments in the foreseeable future.’

Taking Eddie Hearn’s 2,000 shares on face value (& avoiding the suspicion that any shares are held by front entities) & allowing for normal profits of 35% per annum & a value of 12 times earnings then Eddie Hearn’s net worth at the most recent possible time of decipher-ability is £20,872,349.13. This also places the Matchroom business in its entirety at a fair market value of £144,436,655.98.