Barry Hearn is set to step down as Chairman of Matchroom Sport, almost four decades after founding the company, he announced this morning at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, amid the ongoing Betfred World Championship.
His son Eddie Hearn, who already acts as Managing Director of Matchroom, will assume the role as Chairman of the various group of firms, including Matchroom Sport, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), Matchroom Boxing, Matchroom Boxing USA, the PGA EuroPro Tour and the newly formed Matchroom Media.
Meanwhile, Steve Dawson will adopt Hearn’s responsibilities as Chairman of the World Snooker Tour, and PDF Chief Executive Matthew Porter will be promoted to Chairman of Matchroom Multi Sport.
Eddie Hearn remarked: “Anyone that knows me is well aware of what Matchroom means to me and our family. It has a legacy that spans 40 years from a small office under a snooker hall in Romford to a global powerhouse of sports entertainment.
“My father has dedicated his life to the company and since I joined in 2004 I have done the same. Now a greater responsibility falls on my shoulders and I am very proud to continue his great work and lead the business and the incredible team that we have built at Matchroom.
“We have seen astounding growth in the last ten years but we have only just begun. I look forward to continuously evolving and continuing the global growth of this astonishing family business.”
Eddie Hearn joined his father’s venture Matchroom Sport in 2004, before the 41-year-old was named Chief Executive of the PGA EuroPro Tour – a joint project between Matchroom Sport and the Professional Golfers’ Association – and later moved on to become a boxing promoter as Head of Matchroom Boxing.
Hearn was forced to step into the breach when his father suffered a ‘minor’ heart attack last year, following on from a previous scare in 2002.
Speaking on his retirement, Barry Hearn noted: “It has been a huge honour to have worked with some of the greatest sports people on the planet across the last 40 years and enjoyed so many wonderful experiences across our spectrum of events in that time, from snooker’s glory days of the 1980s to record-breaking boxing shows and the incredible growth of professional darts, as we have created opportunities for thousands of sportsmen and women during that time.
“Great challenges have been met, but none more so than the COVID pandemic. I have been determined to stay in charge until this disaster passed and now there is light at the end of the tunnel and I believe it is the right time to pass control of Matchroom to my son Eddie and the brilliant teams we have assembled across all our activities.”
The agency has a hand in a number of sports, from boxing to snooker, darts, 10-pin bowling and much more. Barry Hearn also served as Owner and Chairman of EFL club Leyton Orient for almost 20 years between 1995 to 2014.