TVKO, AOL Team Up For Jones Bout Promo


New York— TVKO has reached an agreement with America Online to promote the pay-per-view network's July 28 telecast of the Roy Jones Jr.-Julio Gonzalez light heavyweight championship bout.

As part of the deal, the online service provider will host a live chat with Jones, the undisputed champion, on July 25. AOL will also offer coverage of the official weigh-in and host an interactive auditorium during the telecast, said TVKO officials.

The AOL deal is a key component of the most extensive promotional campaign for a Jones PPV event in several years, said TVKO director of national marketing and promotion Michelle Rosen said. Both TVKO and AOL are AOL Time Warner Inc. subsidiaries.

AOL will also host a special online content area that will provide users with background and behind-the-scenes information about the two fighters. It will also give away five pairs of gloves signed by both Jones and Gonzalez in a special online contest.

The PPV event carries a suggested retail price of $39.95.

"We are very excited that AOL members and pay-per-view boxing fans will have this unique opportunity to participate in the July 28 Roy Jones vs. Julio Gonzalez event," said HBO Sports and TVKO senior vice president Mark Taffet said in a statement. "The pre-event promotion and live on-air interaction will make this world championship fight even more special."

AOL also provided similar coverage for TVKO's June 23 Oscar De La Hoya-Javier Castillejo junior middleweight championship PPV event. For that fight, AOL provided round-by-round voting.

According to Rosen, the marketing plan for the upcoming bout dwarfs the promotion for Jones' PPV fight against Eric Harding last Sept. 9, mostly due to the match's location. The July 27 event will be held in Los Angeles, rather than the smaller New Orleans market, where last September's contest took place.

Anheuser-Busch Cos.' Budweiser beer will serve as co-sponsor of the fight, along with online casino company, according to Rosen.

TVKO will run a 30-minute syndicated show on CBS-affiliated stations in 14 markets on the day of the event. In addition, and will provide chats and background information on both fighters leading up to the bout, Rosen said.

Both fighters were scheduled to appear on Home Box Office's July 21 World Championship Boxing
telecast, which showcased welterweight champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley.