Exclusive: Simon Denyer Talks How Matchroom-Perform Deal Came About

Perform Group CEO Simon Denyer gives more details on the humongous deal between Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing and Perform Group.

The deal involves Perform Group's DAZN streaming service to give boxing fans in the United States exclusive access to 16 yearly boxing shows promoted by Matchroom Boxing inside the country for the next eight years. Denyer recently spoke with Fightful regarding the historic deal, valued at around $1 billion and said talks between the two sides began talks around four and five months ago. Denyer said Perform Group already had plans to expand DAZN, already available in places such as Germany, Japan and Canada, into the United States.

With such a technology-driven country such as the United States, Denyer believed there was an opportunity to have a lot of success, but it was a matter of picking a sport to market heavily in and that's where Eddie Hearn came into the picture. Hearn, who is leading Matchroom Boxing's U.S. expansion, which began last year, had been looking to have a bigger presence in the American country and the two sides got together to work towards the same goal and opportunity.

"It came together because we’ve been launching DAZN in Asia and Europe and we’ve been looking to expand to the Americas. We launched in Canada last year and we started working out what we were going to do in the U.S. The U.S. is the biggest OTT market in the world, there’s already 220 million OTT subs here in America, so we had to come up here with a plan. We were looking at is there was a sport, and obviously it’s a busy market here with all of the U.S. sports and it’s pretty tied up here, is there a sport where we can be the home of. We soon realized boxing was really fragmented and really undervalued, there was a lot of structure things that are wrong," Denyer said.

The partnership between Hearn and DAZN was ideal according to Denyer. Perform Group was looking to make a significant impact on the U.S. boxing market, something that Hearn wanted as well and the two quickly agreed on a deal that would have Matchroom Boxing promote multiple boxing cards across the country on DAZN.

"We just kind of share the same ideas and we both immediately realized we were looking for the same thing. We wanted a promoter to come in and centralize all the big fights and commit to a long term schedule. There’s no point in us doing one or two fights [in the United States]. We can’t say we’re the home of boxing if we’re only doing two fights. So we needed a new promoter to guarantee us 16 fights every single year as a bare minimum and that’s exactly what he needed to get into the U.S. He needs to find fighters and in order to do that, he needed to guarantee dates and guarantee money. It was just perfect timing. We were both looking at the same thing at roughly the same time and we probably started talking about four or five months ago. In the last few weeks, we finished the contract," Denyer said.

Currently, DAZN is scheduled to launch later this year in the United States and more details will be released in the coming weeks.

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