Sky, Matchroom extend UK TV deal

In a major boxing television deal announced Friday, Great Britain’s Sky Sports, a subscription sports network that has been involved in boxing for many years, extended its deal with promoter Matchroom Sport.

Matchroom Sport has been the exclusive provider of fights cards to the network for the past few years and will continue to be for the next two years -- and 40 shows -- under the terms of the deal. The extension commences in June, Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn announced.

“I'm delighted to announce a new two-year extension to our existing contract with Sky Sports, which will see us as the principle promoter on the channel to summer 2016,” Hearn said in a statement. “We have developed one of the strongest stables ever seen in world boxing and the extension gives us the perfect platform to grow our team and provide them all with the ultimate opportunity to achieve within the sport.

“Sky shares our passion and vision for the sport and is a perfect partner as we look to grow boxing significantly over the next few years. It’s exciting times for an exciting sport and we have some mouth-watering plans to share with Sky Sports viewers.”

Because Hearn has the exclusivity of the Sky platform, it has allowed him to sign many top fighters and put on the bulk of Britain’s major fights over the past few years, including those involving Carl Froch, Ricky Burns, Darren Barker, Scot Quigg, Tony Bellew and Kell Brook. It has also been a key reason he has been able to sign top prospects seeking the necessary exposure to become known to the public, including Olympic gold medalists Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell.

Said Adam Smith, executive producer of boxing, “We are confident fight fans will continue to enjoy the very best quality, innovation and excitement on Sky Sports.”

The deal also allows Hearn to make deals to secure international fights, including some of the major United States fights, such as next week’s Timothy Bradley Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez bout, Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov on Oct. 19 and the Nov. 2 fight between Gennady Golovkin and Curtis Stevens.

Sky’s only real competition in the boxing market comes from all-boxing subscription network BoxNation, although it is in far fewer homes than Sky.