Another quarter has brought another decrease in pay-per-view event revenue.
For the third consecutive quarter in 2000, PPV revenues have fallen off from last year's numbers, according to Showtime Event Television.
But industry executives believe the fourth quarter-in which at least three marquee boxing matches are scheduled-will finally halt the free fall.
Hurt by a lack of marquee boxing matches, PPV events generated $66.8 million in revenue, down 47 percent from last year's $126 million, reported SET.
The lone bright spot: professional wrestling. Paced by three successful World Wrestling Federation events, the category generated 90 percent of all revenues in the quarter, said SET.
With $60.4 million generated in the third quarter, the genre also bested last year's $52.4 million third-quarter figure, SET said.
But the boxing category continued to disappoint operators. Only one high-profile boxing card-a Sept. 9 Roy Jones-Eric Harding bout-was offered during the quarter. As a result, the genre only generated $4 million. In 1999, by contrast, three marquee fights earned the industry in excess of $64 million.
"The decline in pay-per-view event revenue this quarter can clearly be attributed to the fact that boxing events, which traditionally lead the category, were not distributed at the same level as past years," SET Pay Per View executive vice president and general manager Mark Greenberg said.
That could change over the next three months. Already, three big PPV events are scheduled: last week's Mike Tyson-Andrew Golota fight (Oct. 20), a Nov. 7 Lennox Lewis-David Tua fight and a Dec. 2 Fernando Vargas-Felix Trinidad bout.
"The third-quarter performance is primarily a function of scheduling," In Demand senior vice president of programming and development Dan York said. "The fourth quarter, which features Tyson-Golota, Lewis Tua and possibly Trinidad-Vargas, should make up for the lack of mega fights in the third quarter."
Nevertheless, Greenberg believes the industry must develop other PPV events to lessen its dependence on ring sports.
"Nine wrestling events and one boxing event generated 96 percent of the revenue for the entire category," Greenberg said. "The industry must look beyond traditional ring sports if the pay-per-view event category is to continue to grow and expand."