By Niall Doran
This Saturday marks the return of TV boxing in the UK with Matchroom Boxing launching their first show of 2014 labelled “Reloaded”. A solid card to be fair to kick things off for 2014 that will feature the likes of: Lee Selby vs Rendall Munroe, Anthony Joshua, Eric Ochieng Gavin Rees and many more.
Those chaps at Matchroom Boxing spearheaded by Eddie “Fast Car” Hearn enjoyed a truly great year in 2013. I genuinely believe over the next couple of years you could see them really go from strength to strength and potentially play a part in bringing back the glory days of terrestrial TV boxing to the masses and casual sports fan. Here’s a few reasons why I would make such an outlandish claim:
They Have Embraced Social Media Best
In the digital era we now live in (I might be a tad bias as I am a digital marketer by trade) social media continues to become more and more important for any business no matter what industry your in. Boxing is no different and if you look at the amount of fighters Matchroom have verified (the official Twitter tick) on Twitter, it shows you how serious they take communicating with their target audience (us the boxing fans). Eddie Hearn also now has over 130k followers on Twitter. These Matchroom boys are on the ball and not lazy enough to ignore social media but instead are happy to converse with the fans and often do competitions giving away tickets for their shows through the likes of IFL TV.
The Best Stable
This is a point than can often change in boxing more so than any other sport with fighters often jumping camps to the perceived “greener grass” that might be available with someone else. However, Matchroom have built up a very strong reputation in recent times built on integrity and treating fighters well, thus accounting for at present the strongest stable of fighters in the UK (I don’t think anyone really can argue with that).
They Could Potentially Have The Next Heavyweight Champ
Anthony Joshua impressed me straight away last year when he kicked off his pro campaign, not just by his concussive knockouts and obvious power but mainly by his attitude. The heavyweight boxing scene is more open then it has been for years and with this fella I can see a guy who is looking to constantly learn and improve. He could become a huge commodity for Matchroom not just this year but in years to come should he fulfil his potential in my opinion of becoming heavyweight champion of the world. The big money traditionally has always been in the heavyweights and this bloke’s success could very possibly make him a very big star in world boxing one day and obviously make Matchroom a shed load of money in the process.
PPV Model Facilitates Growth Of Sport
Certain fights just cannot be made without the pay per view model at present. Regular TV deals/networks just simply won’t invest in the rights fees needed to put on big fights as they don’t see the value at the moment. Hence when a fight goes to pay per view more money can be made as the consumer has to fork out money on top of what they would usually pay for their TV bill anyway.
Matchroom have put on some of the biggest PPV fights over the last couple of years in conjunction with Sky and it is indeed these fights that bring the sport of boxing to the mainstream media’s attention. Boxing will have to grow its way out of this model in order to have any chance of going back to the days where terrestrial TV companies will fork out the big dough for big fights. Matchroom by putting on quality mega fights (last year with Froch v Kessler and Froch v Groves) will in my opinion continue to help the sport grow.
Staying slightly on the growth of the sport but from a different angle, consider the fact that Sky are now back in the international boxing coverage market for the first time in years. Sky now show live international fights (namely in the States) which was something they had lost confidence in for a few years until Matchroom stepped up to the plate by putting on more stacked cards, with much more 50/50 fights that genuinely could go either way. Sky recognised this and appear to have more confidence in the sport than ever which has been tangibly shown through their recent re-appearance in the international boxing market. This close partnership that Matchroom and Sky have formed will be instrumental in my opinion on Matchroom remaining no.1 in the UK not only this year but for many more years to come.
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