Matchroom CEO Frank Smith discusses the financial implications for boxing from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and says there have been no talks regarding Sky increasing their PPV prices
Frank Smith is one of the unsung heroes in UK boxing. As the CEO of leading promoter Matchroom, Smith is happy for his boss Eddie Hearn to dominate the spotlight, but he undertakes a huge amount of work behind the scenes to keep Matchroom at the forefront of the sport. The Covid-19 pandemic brought a new and unexpected challenge and Smith believes even big fights can take place behind closed doors when boxing resumes.
"It’s different times and things are going to have to change," Smith noted (full video below). "Without a big gate which you get for the big fights, it’s going to be a lot more difficult. I’m sure fighters understand that there’s going to be a period of time where fights will have to go on behind closed doors then we’ll see how things progress. Financially it will change the market, it has to to, because you can’t run a show, operate a show like you normally would. We’ll have to look at pay-per-view shows as they go on but right now it’s taking baby steps. Beyond July, August, it’s very tough to plan for. We might be able to go back to arenas with 3,000 people, 4,000 people."
Matchroom’s broadcast partner Sky Sports have extended a helping hand to viewers over the last few months, allowing them to pause their subscriptions until live sport returns, while retaining the channels. As a result, along with a lack of enticing live sport to attract new subscribers, they will have experienced a significant financial hit, but Smith insists there have been no talks regarding boxing pay-per-view prices rising to compensate.
"There’s no discussions on that front," Smith stated. "There’s been no talk, going into detail, of changing prices of pay-per-views, but I can’t talk on their behalf."