sports gazette

Promoter Barry Hearn enjoying partnership with British Gymnastics

Published: 8 Mar 2017

Barry Hearn is thrilled with his latest sporting venture and has promised that the World Cup of Gymnastics is set to be an unmissable spectacle.

Since the successes at both London 2012 and Rio 2016, gymnastics has enjoyed a phenomenal upward spiral and is set to take centre stage once again at The O2 on Saturday 8th April.

Promoter Hearn has a positive track record in turning numerous niche sports, such as darts and snooker, into major TV attractions and his latest business move is a shrewd step.

Speaking at the press conference, an effervescent and enthusiastic Hearn said: "The essence of life and sport especially is all about timing.

“There’s this feeling of momentum.

“We (at Matchroom) analyse trends all the time in sport to see when we do make a quantum shift into something new that it’s worthy of consideration and has potential.”

He was also full of praise for the world-class field assembled and expects an almightily tough competition.

But he admits he is rooting for the British competitors - Amy Tinkler, Ellie Downie, Sam Oldham and Brinn Bevan - who were unveiled at the ME London Hotel on Wednesday.

He said: "These guys are something special - I'm in awe of them."

The iPro Sport World Cup of Gymnastics promises to be a huge spectacle with around 17,000 tickets already snapped up.

Hearn said: "This is a hot ticket.

"If you had said this to me 12 months ago, I wouldn't have believed you.

"Come the night we hopefully will produce a cutting edge, state of the art, iPro-sponsored mega event."

The Matchroom Sport chairman believes his company brings a different dimension to sport and is keen to ensure that there won't be a pause in the action with Boogie Storm from Britain's Got Talent and Unity Allstars’ Ruby cheerleading team both signed up to perform.

He explained: “Sport is very serious for the participants but we have to look at it in the bigger picture.

“How do we make it entertaining for the casual fans as well as the hardcore gymnastics followers?”

Hearn has admitted that he doesn't normally work with governing bodies but has formed a strong partnership with British Gymnastics and, in particular, CEO Jane Allen.

Allen herself was equally full of praise for the work of Hearn and Matchroom Sport, particularly with helping grow the profile of the athletes and offering further exposure and accolades.

Both Hearn and Allen are hoping this will be the start of a long and fruitful working relationship which benefits all parties.

Allen said: "Barry is taking us to another level in how we present our sport.

"The first event this year will give us a good springboard going forward."

Hearn added that he hopes to be involved in lots of different gymnastics ventures in the future and is determined that increased coverage and recognition will help change the lives of those involved.

He said: "We can't ask you to dedicate your lives without giving you the reward that that dedication brings."

The iPro World Cup of Gymnastics is set to once again give the sport the stage it deserves.

The competition will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Mix, which is available to all Sky customers, with Natalie Pinkham fronting the coverage and Rio bronze medallist Nile Wilson among the guest contributors.

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