Barry Hearn hails ‘breakthrough moment’ for rugby league as celebrities endorse Las Vegas trip

Aaron Bower
Barry Hearn

Legendary sports promoter Barry Hearn believes Super League’s eagerly-anticipated trip to Las Vegas next year is a ‘breakthrough moment’ for rugby league.

Warrington Wolves will take on Wigan Warriors in the United States next March at Allegiant Stadium, as part of a mouthwatering four-game event that also features a double-header of NRL fixtures, as well as England’s women taking on Australia.

And Hearn, whose family have shown interest in helping rugby league in the past but to no avail, said in a video message that he feels the Vegas trip could be just the tonic the sport needs.

He said: “I just want to really wish the best of luck to Warrington Wolves as they go to Las Vegas on March 1 to play Wigan Warriors. Wow. A breakthrough moment for rugby league. My best wishes go to both teams but in particular, of course, Warrington Wolves. Go and enjoy yourselves, it’s party time in Vegas.”

The Hearns have flirted with the idea of getting involved with rugby league for a number of years. In 2018, Matchroom Sport supremo Eddie met with then-RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer after offering his services to the sport.

However, those talks failed to materialise into anything substantial – and as recently as last year, Hearn gave an interview in a podcast when he lambasted the state of the sport.

“Rugby league is absolutely bang in trouble,” he claimed. “They wanted us to come in and look at the Challenge Cup and a few different elements of the game and I said ‘no, we need to control the game’.


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“It has to be built and the problem is that both codes aren’t delivering numbers. Away from the big international stuff, the reality is that viewing figures are horrendous and the reason is because you don’t have any stars.”

But Hearn’s father Eddie, famous for revitalising the fortunes of sports including snooker and darts, appears to believe that the sport could be onto something with the Vegas trip.

He is one of a number of high-profile names who have endorsed the trip throughout the day since it was announced on Tuesday morning.

Wire fan and Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, said: “I’ve just heard the news. Who would have thought Warrington Wolves versus Wigan Warriors, not just an ordinary game, live in Las Vegas. Come on the Wire, Viva Las Vegas!”

And legendary singer Rick Astley even shared his enthusiasm, saying: “Can you believe it. Warrington Wolves versus Wigan Warriors in Las Vegas – come on! It’s happening in 2025, in March, I said it: in Las Vegas. Come on the Wire, let’s have it.”


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