Barry Hearn OBE has stepped down from his role as Chairman of the PDC and will be replaced by his son Eddie Hearn.
Hearn has been Chairman of Matchroom Sport since 1982 but will now step aside to become President of the Group in an advisory role.
The 72-year-old acquired a majority shareholding in the PDC 20 years ago but will now hand the reins over to his son Eddie – who has been at the forefront of Matchroom’s boxing boom.
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.”
Eddie Hearn said: “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.”
As well as the PDC, Eddie will also become Chairman of Matchroom Boxing USA, Matchroom Media and the PGA EuroPro Tour.
Current PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter will also become Chairman of Matchroom Multi Sport but will remain in control of PDC operations.
Barry Hearn has been instrumental in transforming darts into a global sporting phenomenon over the past three decades, with an annual prize fund in excess of £14 million.
He oversaw the move of the World Championship from the Circus Tavern in Purfleet to London’s Alexandra Palace, as well as the vast growth of Premier League Darts into sold-out arenas across the UK and Europe.
Hearn has also taken the sport into new territories via the World Series, including Asia, Australia and returning to the United States after a lengthy absence.
Eddie, who joined Matchroom in 2004, has been instrumental in staging some of the biggest fights in recent British boxing history and secured a record $1 billion deal with live streaming platform DAZN to stage 16 fights a year across America.