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21-05-2018 1:10:02

Good times for Perform as huge boxing deal signed two days after Skipper named executive chairman

Tom Pammenter|Industry

These are heady days for Perform Group. Two big news announcements, just 48 hours apart, signal the way forward for the British company as it looks to expand its growing DAZN OTT service.

In New York earlier this month, Perform Group started spreading the news – two big stories to tell which clearly indicate the London-based operation’s ambition and direction.

 

May 8: former ESPN president John Skipper named as executive chairman

Earlier this month, Perform announced the appointment of John Skipper as executive chairman. Skipper had been president of ESPN, where he worked for 20 years across all areas of the business, but stepped down in December 2017 citing a substance addiction.

He later said he was forced out after a blackmail threat, and commented on his recent appointment:

Simon [Denyer, Perform’s founder and CEO] and his team have built an enormously impressive company, providing an excellent base to establish a global leadership position in the over-the-top sports subscription business, the clear future of sports delivery.

Perform Group’s platform and expertise, coupled with its success in launching subscription services in Germany, Japan and Canada provides a model we intend to replicate around the world.

Skipper, based in New York, was brought in, at least in part, to oversee the growing DAZN (pronounced ‘Da Zone’) OTT service, which has shown sports including:

  • European football
  • English football
  • J-League
  • Tennis
  • Darts
  • Boxing
  • NFL

 

May 10: huge JV deal signed with Matchroom

“America, we have well and truly arrived. Let the fun begin!” – Eddie Hearn, Matchroom MD

Two days after Skipper’s appointment was announced, the biggest deal ever seen in boxing was made public. Perform and Matchroom, who have a close working relationship stretching back more than ten years, are partnering in the first deal of its kind in the industry.

We have seen in music with Spotify and TV with Netflix and Amazon that people will pay a sensible amount of money for a good service. We want to be a Netflix for sport. –Simon Denyer, Perform CEO

And embrace the Netflix business model they have.

DAZN charges closer to $12 a month and intends to challenge pay-per view broadcasters such as HBO and Showtime, who dominate top-flight boxing in the US and charge anywhere up to $70 to $100 for a pay-per-view package. Audience figures are in the millions per fight night.


 
Matchroom Boxing has sold more than a million tickets to fights in the past five years, attracts sell-out crowds of 90,000 fans and is now believed to be talking to up to 30 US boxers.

And its deal with Perform, described by Eddie Hearn as a “dream scenario”, will be used to drive US subscribers and “make DAZN the home of boxing”.

The streaming service is already available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan and Canada.

 

Facts & stats

Perform Group

Perform, valued at £3 billion after it sold a ten per cent stake to Japanese advertising group Dentsu for £300 million, is owned by Access Industries, whose founder and chairman, Len Blavatnik, is Britain’s third-richest person.

The company…

  • Employs almost 3,000 people in more than 30 countries
  • Is based in Feltham, west London
  • Operates some of sport’s biggest digital platforms, such as Goal.com and SportingNews.com

 

Matchroom Boxing

  • One of the world’s leading boxing promoters and has promoted more than 100 events in the past five years with 57 world title fights as part of an exclusive broadcast deal with Sky Sports
  • Led by MD Eddie Hearn
  • Boxers it promotes include:
    • Anthony Joshua
    • Carl Froch
    • James DeGale
    • Kell Brook
    • Tony Bellew
    • Amir Khan
    • Katie Taylor
    • Anthony Crolla
    • Scott Quigg
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