Matchroom Sport originated 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 and 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.
Boxing has continued to be a major part of Matchroom’s output over the years and, led by Eddie Hearn, Matchroom’s promotional stable of boxers is second to none and includes World Champions and Olympians from Anthony Joshua to Amir Khan, Kell Brook to Tony Bellew and many more.
Throughout the 1990s Matchroom added more and more diverse sports to its portfolio of events as they built an increasingly stronger client base of major broadcasters around the world. Matchroom Pool launched with the World Pool Masters and the Mosconi Cup, now the biggest brand in 9-ball, selling out huge venues such as Alexandra Palace and Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.
Fish‘O’Mania is still the world’s only live televised fishing event and the company’s Multi Sport division continues to expand with netball, basketball and gymnastics recently added to the portfolio.
The PGA 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 with over £14 million in prize money being paid out on its global circuit of tournaments.
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. Following Matchroom Sport acquisition, the World Snooker Tour has grown rapidly from having prize money of £3.5million to £14million and having gone from 8 main tour events to a calendar of nearly 30 events with a Challenge Tour set to be introduced for 2018/19.
The Matchroom Sport Group of Companies now produce around 2,500 hours of original programming resulting in over 40,000 hours of TV transmission globally.