Obtaining one of the biggest promotional windows in
pay-per-view boxing history, TVKO has reached agreements with cable and direct-broadcast
satellite distributors for its April Lennox Lewis-Michael Grant heavyweight fight.
The agreements give TVKO nearly 10 weeks to promote the
April 29 heavyweight championship fight.
"I can't remember a mega-fight that was brought
to the market this early in the promotion," TVKO senior vice president of programming
Mark Taffet said. "This is exactly the formula that enables the PPV industry to
In Demand, DirecTV Inc., EchoStar Communications Corp. and
TVN Entertainment will all carry the event, which will retail for a suggested $44.95.
"I give [the distributors] a lot of credit for
reaching agreements so early. It's a tremendous opportunity for affiliates to
maximize revenue in the biggest PPV sports event so far this year," Taffet added.
"Lennox Lewis-Michael Grant for the undisputed
heavyweight championship promises to be an exciting fight, and we're optimistic that
it will be a great performing PPV event for In Demand and its affiliates," In Demand
senior vice president of programming, development and event acquisition Dan York said.
"We're especially pleased to come to terms on the event in time to fully
maximize the marketing opportunities in order for it to become a real television
In Demand would not reveal the rate it will receive from
TVKO for the event. Showtime Event Television accused the network of inflating its
licensing fee for a proposed March PPV fight involving Mike Tyson.
"The terms for this event are win-win-win for everyone
involved: TVKO, the cable operators and In Demand," York said. "It illustrates
what can be accomplished when a supplier is forthright and earnest in their desire to
deliver an event to PPV."
The early deals allow TVKO to set deadlines for many
important promotional tactics, such as guide covers, direct-mail pieces and bill-stuffers,
TVKO will offer operators a marketing-based rate card that
gives a 45 percent split to those systems that run 400 spots and implement four tactics,
Each individual system can earn a 50 percent split by
reaching a 1.8-percent buy-rate; an MSO can earn 50 percent of fight revenues by
generating a 1.6-percent buy-rate throughout its systems.
While the fight is for the unified heavyweight
championship, it remains to be seen if champion Lewis -- whose two bouts last year against
popular former champion Evander Holyfield drew nearly 2 million PPV buys -- can carry a
major PPV event on his own.
But Taffet said the long promotional window would give the
company time to effectively market the fight.
"This enables us to continue to capitalize on our
record success in 1999 and plan for the balance of the year," he said.