Sports and Entrepreneurship Societies Barry Hearn (sports impresario)

The Sports and Entrepreneurship Societies were delighted to host Barry Hearn. Mr Hearn holds an expertise in sports business like no other as a sports promoter, as founder and chairman of Matchroom Sports (through which he is Chairman of Leyton Orient FC, World Snooker and the Professional Darts Corporation) and as the manager of legends like Phil Taylor and Steve Davis. Mr Hearn began by speaking of his time managing big names in sport, emphasising the luck he had needed to come across Steve Davis as a youngster and Chris Eubank as an aspiring boxer. Mr Hearn also told of his controversial relationship with the fans of Leyton Orient (having once described them as being “as intelligent as a single cell amoeba”) before going on to explain how he bought the club’s ground (which they had been renting) over the fans’ desire to buy a new striker. Mr Hearn then went on to sell the four corners of the ground to be turned into four sets of flats, making a profit of over £7million. He also related how he sacked one constantly irate manager as soon as he’d seen the way he spoke to the players in the dressing room. He added that he fancied his chances when Leyton Orient come up against Arsenal in the FA Cup on February 20th, explaining how their magnificent cup run could help them break even on the money front this year. Mr Hearn is also responsible for the rise in darts as chairman of the PDC. It was particularly interesting to hear him speak of the revenues from drink sales, with an average of seven pints per head being consumed at each event. It was a thoroughly entertaining talk, giving everyone an insight into the world of sport, and showing how it can be a business as much as a pleasure.

Elliott Charles (TEWH)