Cable Operators

ESPN Lands a PPV Knockout

5/08/2005 8:00 PM Eastern

Kicking off what could be a strong quarter for the pay-per-view boxing category, ESPN’s April 23 inaugural PPV event punched its way to 150,000 buys, according to industry observers.

The $29.95 Main Event Inc.-promoted card, which featured former three-time world champion Shane Mosley as well as up and coming fighters Antonio Margarito and Kermit Cintron, was ESPN’s first foray into the PPV boxing distribution ring, backed by marketing support across a host of the programmer’s platforms.

“Clearly the $29.95 pricing [of the event] resonated with viewers as well as the excellent fight card,” said ESPN senior vice president of broadband and interactive sales Matt Murphy. “The hard-core fans as well as casual boxing fans recognized the value of the event.” Murphy is hoping to generate even more buys for the event over the next three weeks through replays of the event. ESPN2 will rebroadcast the card in June.

A replay will also air on ESPN.com, where Murphy said the company garnered a generous number of buys, which he declined to specify.

While ESPN works on its next card, Home Box Office and Showtime will distribute several PPV events over the next couple of months.

Showtime offered its May 7 Jose Louis Castillo-Diego Corrales pay TV telecast via PPV for non-Showtime subscribers and is expected to distribute former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson’s return to the ring in June.

HBO PPV is scheduled to distribute a May 14 Felix Trinidad-Winky Wright middleweight bout, as well as a June 25 Arturo Gatti-Floyd Mayweather event.

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