Barry Hearn: Closed door events can 'keep everyone happy'

Aberdeen v Hibernian in front of empty seats at Hampden
Sports promoter Barry Hearn says live TV sport behind closed doors should be considered

Live TV sport behind closed doors can "keep everyone busy and happy" says promoter Barry Hearn after the sporting calendar was affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

And the promoter has suggested this year's World Snooker Championships could be played to no crowds.

Hearn says "sportsmen and women have to play to eat and provide for their families".

"I'm not sure of the benefit of not staging outdoor events," said Hearn.

"People talk about spreading the virus, but unless we're all going to be locked indoors for the next few months, we're all going to be down the pub or mixing with people at work, or travelling on trains.

"I'm going to continue where possible, where I can't continue I'm going to delay."

The 2020 Premier League Darts final will be played in the Netherlands after a double-header in Rotterdam was rescheduled for 9-10 September, after Hearn cancelled the event originally due to be played in the Dutch city on 25-26 March.

"Already I've got a team of people working on alternative dates," Hearn told BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound. "I've cancelled next week's Premier League in Rotterdam and immediately booked 9/10 September so we can have something to look forward to maybe.

"I'm playing the Gibraltar Open [snooker] behind closed doors at this moment in time. Next week I have the tour championships and I'm waiting to hear if I'm allowed to do it.

"World Snooker Championships start the middle of April. Clearly after that we'll see what's happened."

Hearn, who is the head of Matchroom Sports, is responsible for many of the top events in darts, snooker and golf.

"My gut feeling is to carry on whenever possible subject to normal health requirements," he added.

"I'm actually looking at events behind closed doors, to actually expand the events I'm doing. Because there's an opportunity there to keep everyone busy and happy.

"It does present an opportunity for indoor sports, behind closed doors, even boxing may well have a market in the absence of any other live sport existing."

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