The origins of Matchroom Sport came in the mid-1970s when chartered accountant Barry Hearn became Chairman of Lucania Snooker Clubs, a UK-wide chain. Developing an interest in the sport, Hearn became the manager of aspiring snooker pro Steve Davis in 1978. What followed was an unprecedented explosion in British sport that saw snooker become the nation’s No.1 TV sport with Hearn and Davis at the forefront.
In 1982, Matchroom Sport was formed in offices in Romford, Essex as the company became the pre-eminent management company in snooker, managing the eight biggest names in the game including four World Champions.
Having dominated snooker, Matchroom Sport branched out in to boxing, promoting the Frank Bruno v Joe Bugner heavyweight clash at Tottenham Hotspur football ground in 1987 in front of 35,000 people.
In 1990 Matchroom Sport TV began trading as the company started to move in the direction of event ownership, promotion and television.
Throughout the 1990’s Matchroom began to add more and more diverse sports to its portfolio of events as they built an increasingly stronger client base of major broadcasters around the world.
Boxing has continued to be a major part of Matchroom’s output over the years and the innovation of Prizefighter has changed the face of boxing as televised entertainment.
Led by Eddie Hearn, Matchroom’s promotional stable of boxers includes World Champions and Olympians from Carl Froch to Anthony Joshua, James DeGale to Kell Brook and many, many more top British boxers.
Matchroom currently promote 20 fight nights per year, all broadcast live on Sky Sports. The Froch vs. Groves II show at Wembley Stadium in May 2014 broke numerous records and went down as one of, if not the, biggest UK boxing show in history.
American pool was launched in 1993 with the inaugural World Pool Masters and shortly after the Europe v America Mosconi Cup was added to the roster. Since then Matchroom have gone on to promote various international pool events both in the Europe, Asia and the USA including the WPA World Pool Championship and the World Cup of Pool.
Matchroom Pool’s events have continued to grow and are regarded throughout the sport as the biggest and the best. The 2014 Mosconi Cup saw tickets sell out inside an hour, with European supporters desperate to see their heroes who had defeated America in Las Vegas 12 months earlier.
Fish’O’Mania is still the only live fishing event in the world and has been a British institution for nearly two decades and Fish’O’Mania International now sees nations compete against one another.
Since the late 1990’s Matchroom have set the standard with televised tenpin bowling and now in its 15th year the Weber Cup continues to be the benchmark by which all other TV bowling is judged.
Since the first ever Poker Million event in 2000, Matchroom Sport have developed into a world leader producing in excess of 200 hours a year of original high quality poker programming.
The EuroPro Tour is Europe’s leading developmental golf tour and has been in Matchroom’s portfolio since 2001 and in that same year, Matchroom Chairman Barry Hearn acquired a majority shareholding in the Professional Darts Corporation.
In the intervening years, under the stewardship of Matchroom, the PDC has gone from strength to strength as darts has grown into a major sport in the UK with current prize funds totalling £7 million.
In December 2009, Barry Hearn became the majority shareholder in World Snooker Ltd with a powerful manifesto that promised to take the game to new heights across the globe. Since then the sport has grown and grown, with prize money increased from £3.5million in 2009, to over £8million for the 2014/15 season with a host of new events introduced over the last five years.
Producing up to 1,000 hours of original programming on an annual basis, Matchroom Sport are committed to creating cost effective ratings for their broadcast clients as well as global exposure for their sponsors.