Barry Hearn

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Barry Hearn
Barry Hearn 2012.JPG
Barry Hearn during the Masters 2012
Born (1948-06-19) 19 June 1948 (age 66)
Dagenham, London, England
Nationality English
Occupation Accountant, Sports promoter
Years active 1973–present
Organization Matchroom Sport
Known for Sports promotion, Snooker, Darts, Table Tennis
Spouse(s) Sue
Children Eddie, Katie

Barry Hearn (born 19 June 1948 in Dagenham, Greater London)[1][2] is an English accountant, sporting events promoter, and the founder and chairman of promotions company Matchroom Sport.

Through Matchroom, Hearn is also involved in many other sports, including pool, tenpin bowling, golf (see PGA EuroPro Tour), Table Tennis[3] and fishing. Hearn is currently the chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation, and was also until July 2010 chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). Also, until July 2014, was the chairman of Leyton Orient F.C..

Early life[edit]

Born in 1948 on a council estate in Dagenham, London,[2] and educated at Buckhurst Hill County High School. He worked and then ran a series of small businesses as a teenager, from washing cars to picking fruit and vegetables.[2]

After qualifying as an accountant, Hearn took over the role of finance director to a design company based in Kensal Green, called Deryck Healey Associates (circa 1973). He formed a new firm, Kensal House Investments, and DHA became Deryck Healey International (DHI).

Snooker[edit]

In the early 1970s, looking for a property investment, Hearn bought a snooker hall in Romford, Greater London. The same year, the BBC began promoting snooker on BBC1 in colour television, resulting in queues of people wanting to play snooker.[2] Hearn and joint-business partner Deryck John Healey then bought Lucania Billiard Halls, which formed the basis of his future career, promoting snooker via colour television.

Hearn began promoting sporting events in 1974, working with amateur snooker players Geoff Foulds, father of Neal Foulds, and Vic Harris. In 1976 he became manager of Steve Davis, who went on to win the World Championship six times.

Hearn prospered from the snooker boom of the 1980s when he formed Matchroom with players Davis and Tony Meo. Later Matchroom snooker players include Terry Griffiths, Dennis Taylor, Willie Thorne, Neal Foulds, Jimmy White, Cliff Thorburn and Ronnie O'Sullivan. Hearn appeared alongside many Matchroom players in the video for "Snooker Loopy", a hit for "rockney" pop rock duo Chas & Dave.

Until July 2010, Hearn was chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. In June 2010, following a vote by the members in June 2010, Hearn took a controlling interest in the organisation's commercial arm, World Snooker Limited with a view to revitalising the game.[4]

Boxing[edit]

Hearn moved into boxing in 1987, his first promotion being the Frank Bruno versus Joe Bugner bout at White Hart Lane in October 1987. He offered the television rights to Greg Dyke of London Weekend Television for £200,000, who agreed to pay £250,000 because he didn't believe Hearn could deliver for the quoted price.[2]

Hearn has since promoted many leading British and Irish boxers, including Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn, Lennox Lewis, Naseem Hamed, Steve Collins and Herbie Hide.[2]

Hearn withdrew his boxers Herbie Hide and Steve Collins from the High Noon in Hong Kong event at the last minute, scheduled on 22 October 1994, when promoter John Daly could not come up with the purses.[5] Hearn said, "But to be honest I was very pleased with myself in Hong Kong. I stood my ground. How many others would have?"[6]

In April 2008 Hearn introduced the Prizefighter series, a knockout tournament featuring 8 different boxers in a sort of last man standing competition. His son Eddie now manages the boxing side of the business.[2]

Darts[edit]

Hearn is the chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation, one of darts' two governing bodies, the sport having been split since the world's leading players left the British Darts Organisation in 1992. He has made several attempts to buy out the rival body, which would reunify the game, but has been unsuccessful.[7]

Football[edit]

Hearn has been chairman of the football league club Leyton Orient since 1995. Prior to Hearn's takeover the club was facing a financial disaster due to the collapse of the then chairman Tony Wood's coffee business in Rwanda at the time of the Rwandan Genocide. Hearn's intervention and financial input assured the club's future. Although Hearn has been successful in stabilising the club financially his tenure has overseen the club's longest run in the bottom division (the fourth tier) of the Football League since its creation (in 1958).

At the culmination of the 2005–06 season, Orient earned promotion to the third tier of English league football (League One), this being their first automatic promotion since the 1969–70 season.

Fishing[edit]

Hearn is an enthusiastic fisherman. After watching the first recording of Wrestle Mania in Ockenden, he pitched the idea of Fish-o-Mania to Greg Dyke at LWT. Turned down, he sold the idea to Sky Sports, establishing a successful now 19-year television franchise.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Married to Susan, the couple have two children, Katie and Eddie Hearn.[2] After nearly going bankrupt in the early 1990s, and suffering a heart attack in 2002, he returned to become a multi-millionaire.[2]

References[edit]

External links[edit]