Eddie Hearn: PBC and Amazon Prime collaboration is 'great'

Eddie Hearn has described as “great” rivals Premier Boxing Champions’ broadcast agreement with Amazon Prime.

PBC’s fights and pay-per-views were being shown by Showtime, but the network is withdrawing from boxing by the end of 2023, and the influential promoters, led by the mysterious Al Haymon, will hereafter have a new home.

PBC represent one of Matchroom’s biggest rivals – they tempted the world’s leading fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez away from them earlier this year – and Amazon Prime’s investment in boxing could also pose a threat to DAZN, Matchroom’s long-term broadcaster.

“It’s great for boxing,” Hearn, of Matchroom, regardless told ProBox TV. “Whenever a new broadcaster comes in, it shows you how big the sport is – that there’s an interest in the sport. The other broadcasters as well – it gives them a little kick up the arse. It shows you that boxing’s valuable to platforms. So I think, ‘Good’.

“It’s another broadcaster injecting money in the sport. So if PBC don’t get a new broadcaster, or they don’t get a broadcaster with any excitement, if you like, the sport becomes, ‘There’s no investment. There’s no excitement. There’s no aggression, or investment, in boxing’, and we need that. Amazon is a powerful platform; people will say it’s not Fox, but why not? At least they’ve got a broadcaster.

“Of course, whenever you get an opportunity for – particularly – a terrestrial broadcaster in the UK to air sports, it is good for the sport, but what does it actually do? It’s like the Channel 5 numbers. Is that growing the sport? Who are those people? Do they buy tickets? Buy merchandise? Do they engage on social? 

“Whenever you can get a bigger number, the better, but it’s who those people actually are. I often wonder. The value of 1.5m on Channel 5 is less than the value of 250,000 paying customers on an app or on a cable subscriber who actually will show a bigger interest in the sport. 

“Anyone with a brain knows that streaming is the future of live sports, and that’s why we made that move, what, five years ago, and everybody was laughing at us – PBC included; ‘They’re on an app’ – it’s just the way sport’s going to go.

“[Pay-per-views] will be the entire reason Amazon are getting involved.” 

Suggestions persist that PBC could yet also agree to work with what is increasingly commonly referred to as a “linear platform”. 

“They may need an additional platform to fund the roster, because one of the problems is they’ve got so many fighters they can’t give them activity,” Hearn continued.

“ESPN are [also] a streaming service. I just think what’s going to happen is people are going to buy apps instead of a traditional cable subscriber, and that was one of the reasons we made the move away from Sky, because I think, in time, a plethora of apps will be a more attractive proposition, and I think Sky will end up being a provider of apps, rather than an acquirer of sports rights. 

“The Premier League, obviously, is a big winner – whilst they have the Premier League they’ll remain that way. But in time you’ll see a lot of these apps just existing – you’ve seen it already; Sky carrying those apps – and I think that’ll be the question to the customers. ‘Do you want to pay whatever you’re paying for Sky, or do you want DAZN, Disney+, Netflix, Amazon, whatever, all for less money than your subscription?’”