Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has turned his head to the promotion of rugby in a podcast with The Good, The Bad & The Rugby. As one of the most well-known names in all of boxing, Eddie Hearn certainly knows his way around the promotion of stars and sport, with some damning comments on the evolution of rugby.
Speaking to presenters James Haskell and Mike Tindall, Hearn was keen to emphasise the reasons he believes that rugby is struggling with viewing figures in comparison to other sports. Hearn believes the lack of viewership comes two-fold; the lack of accessibility of the sport, and the sheer lack of personalities on display. Being honest with his thoughts, Hearn emphasised that as someone outside of the sport, he couldn’t name of half a dozen players – which in his words is “frightening”.
“Besides the big international stuff in the Six Nations and stuff like that, the reality is horrendous, and the reason this is because you don’t have any stars, for two reasons; one, because maybe there aren’t any characters and personalities around anymore or two they’re not accessible.
“I’m a promoter of individuals really, so to promote a sport essentially you have to highlight those people and you have to make them stars.
“Honestly I couldn’t name you half a dozen players in professional rugby That’s frightening.
“When you learn about the characters, you want to watch them, and when you want to watch them, when you create heroes, you drive the grassroots element of the game.
“Boxing, the participation level of grassroots boxing since AJ came in, he was the first fighter that kids went ‘I wanna be like AJ’. Tell me what kids are coming through now from schools or from areas where rugby union is played that have many heroes, I know they exist, I’m not blind to it just because I don’t watch rugby”.