Barry Hearn OBE has stepped down from his role as PDC chairman following 20 years at the helm, and will be replaced by his son Eddie Hearn.
Hearn has been the Chairman of Matchroom Sport since 1982, although after nearly 40 years in charge, the 72-year-old will now step aside to take up an advisory role as President of the Group.
Hearn has made a transformative impact across the sporting world throughout a remarkable career, acquiring a majority shareholding in the Professional Darts Corporation in 2001 and turning the sport into a global phenomenon, with an annual prize fund in excess of £14 million.
However, he is now set to hand over the reigns to his son Eddie – who has helped staged some of the biggest fights in recent Boxing history – while Matthew Porter will remain Chief Executive of the PDC, having also been appointed Chairman of Matchroom Multi Sport.
Barry Hearn OBE said: “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.
“I shall continue to be available to all Matchroom companies as non-executive President, an advisory role concentrating on group strategy and global expansion, but Eddie will be elevated to Group Chairman with overall responsibility for the entire group.
“I could not be prouder of the Matchroom Group of Companies and the outstanding teams that operate in a highly competitive marketplace.
“Matchroom has grown from two employees operating in an office under a snooker hall in Romford in 1982, to the global powerhouse it is today due to the efforts and performances of all our staff, contractors, broadcasters, and partners.
“I know the company is in good hands with Eddie at the helm and with my daughter Katie heading up Matchroom Media, Matt Porter at the PDC, Frank Smith at Matchroom Boxing, Emily Frazer at Matchroom Multi Sport, Steve Dawson my Chief Executive for over 30 years and Dan Godding at the PGA EuroPro Tour, along with all their teams.
“Now is the time to give all Matchroom employees the opportunity to take this great British company to the next level and beyond.”
Darts is currently the second most-viewed sport on Sky Sports behind football, and Hearn has been instrumental in the sport’s meteoric rise. He’s made darts a global entity, transformed the Premier League into one of sport’s most popular roadshows, while also overseeing the move of the World Championship from the Circus Tavern to Alexandra Palace.
The 72-year-old leaves a lasting legacy, with Eddie becoming Chairman of the Group of Companies and Chairman of Matchroom Sport, Professional Darts Corporation, Matchroom Boxing, Matchroom Boxing USA, Matchroom Media and the PGA EuroPro Tour.
“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,” Eddie added.
“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.”