While it didn't generate Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson
pay-per-view numbers, the performance of U.S. Satellite Broadcasting's Feb. 21 fight
went a long way toward establishing the satellite service as a legitimate player in PPV
The show -- the second in an arrangement between promoter
Don King and USSB to offer exclusive PPV-boxing events -- pulled in over 1,000 buys on the
3.3 million-subscriber service. More important, however, the fight -- which featured
heavyweight contender Ray Mercer -- drew coverage from several national newspapers,
including USA Today, as well as attention from boxing executives.
"We were generally pleased with the event's
performance," said Colleen Galloway, director of PPV for USSB. "It more than
doubled what we usually see from our other boxing series, Heavyweight Explosion."
The event performed well despite several last-minute
changes in the card, Galloway said. She added that the prefight press that the bout
generated from local and national newspapers -- as well as its listing in several
TV-sports columns -- provided awareness of the event beyond just USSB subscribers.
"Boxing fans around the country who don't have a
DSS [Digital Satellite System] dish will look at [the listings], so maybe that will help
us sell more dishes," said Pat Milan, director of corporate relations for USSB.
"It helps us to get the word out there that we're a player in the boxing-event
While the event may not have broken any USSB buy-rate
records, Galloway said the series sets the service apart from the cable industry --
particularly since cable is having a difficult time scheduling PPV events this year.
"The series was designed to give us something that
cable doesn't have to differentiate ourselves from the pack," she said.
And the service will continue to secure exclusive boxing
programming. Along with the monthly Heavyweight Explosion, USSB will distribute an
exclusive package of Hispanic-targeted boxing events beginning next month. The first event
will be priced at $14.95.