Alexandra Palace is now being ‘used properly’, says sports promoter Barry Hearn

09:00 03 January 2014

Barry Hearn

Barry Hearn

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Barry Hearn says Alexandra Palace has “sadly been underused over the years” but that it is now being “used properly” as the Muswell Hill venue hosts a string of major sporting events at the start of 2014.

The Ladbrokes World Darts Championships came to an end late on New Years Day, with Dutchman Michael van Gerwen being crowned champion after 16 days of competition, which saw 50,000 people visiting the venue.

Hearn is the chairman of Matchroom Sports, who have promoted the event – in addition to other sporting spectacles at Ally Pally. The World Ping Pong Championships will take place this weekend and, later in the month, the Masters snooker tournament will also be held in north London.

Hearn says the arena holds special memories for him, and that he is delighted to see so many people coming through its doors.

“I go back a long way with this building,” said the 65-year-old. “When I was 21 years old I took my final accountants exam here and I walked up that hill every day. I had broken my leg playing football so I had to come up on crutches for the first three days.

“It’s nice for me as an individual to revisit my youth and to remember good feelings. We have created some good events here and everyone’s a winner - people get great value for money and The People’s Palace’ is used properly.

“Ally Pally is a great venue that has sadly been underused over the years but, with the new management that is in place now, they’ve seen the opportunity and it’s good business. We know we’re going to get a crowd and they know they’re going to get a crowd.

“Bringing the World Darts Championship to Alexandra Palace was a bit special. Going back between 1963 and 1977 the News of the World Championships were staged here.

“It was actually then the venue for darts, so all we have really done is look back through the history books and copied it.

Hearn added: “Alexandra Palace has become a little bit of a Matchroom home at the moment. You can’t say how long it’s going to last but at the moment we are working as a very good partnership. We love this arena, it’s a lovely historic building in London and it does seem to create a great atmosphere.

“The World Darts Championship is here for the next few years, guaranteed. This weekend we start the World Ping Pong Championships, which is a new event but it’s growing and looks as if it could get bigger and bigger - and then of course we have the Masters snooker. We have also hosted some Prizefighter boxing events here as well.”


Latest Sport Stories

Arsenal Ladies' Jordan Nobbs battles with Kathleen Radtke of Manchester City Women (right) during the Gunners' 1-0 win in the Continental Cup

Midfielder Jordan Nobbs is determined to finish her frustrating season on a high by helping the Gunners to regain the Continental Cup.

Wingate & Finchley manager Simon Lane. Pic: Martin Addison

Wingate & Finchley manager Simon Lane will attempt to lead the Blues into uncharted territory in the FA Cup at the first attempt on Saturday as they host Conference South outfit Weston-super-Mare in the third qualifying round.

The Camden Swiss Cottage squad

Camden Swiss Cottage’s young swimmers competed in their first Southern Junior Inter League Final on Sunday – and they finished fifth to narrowly miss out on a place in the national final.

The 24 competitors from The Hall and South Hampstead High School pose together after their success at the Hemel Hempstead snow dome

South Hampstead High School and The Hall both took three teams to the Caxton FX 2015 indoor British Independent Schools slalom race at the Hemel Hempstead snow dome.

Yesterday, 17:00
Fly-half Jamie Niven (right) touched down twice for Belsize Park. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Belsize Park racked up more than 60 points for the second game in a row, scoring 10 tries to thump Stevenage Town in Regent’s Park and climb to third place in London North-West Division Three.

Yesterday, 16:00
Highgate Harriers' Andy Maud. Pic: Dieter Perry

Andy Maud stole the show in only his second appearance for Highgate Harriers on Saturday, recording the best time of all the club runners at the National Six Stage Road Relays.

Yesterday, 15:32
David Cooper (left, on the floor) celebrates his opening goal for Hampstead & Westminster. Pic: Mark Clews

Hampstead & Westminster’s ladies were unable to maintain their perfect start to the season as they suffered their first defeat in the National League – but the men’s team earned a second successive victory in the Premier Division.

Yesterday, 13:29
Hendon manager Gary McCann. Pic: Steffan Bowen

Hendon manager Gary McCann says his side need to improve their “powers of recovery” when they are trailing after they suffered a second successive league defeat on Saturday.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder