Hoping to strike pay-per-view gold again, TVKO has
developed an extensive marketing and promotional campaign for its Nov. 13 Evander
Holyfield-Lennox Lewis pay-per-view heavyweight-unification rematch event.
The first fight between the two champions in March
generated more than 1.2 million buys and more than $61 million in PPV revenue. But the
event was also mired in controversy, with Holyfield gaining a draw in a fight most
observers believe Lewis won.
The decision spurred several local and federal
investigations involving the possibility of fight fixing and judge tampering.
Rather than emphasizing the first event and potentially
conjuring up bad memories, TVKO's marketing plan instead focuses on the two fighters'
desire to hold the unified heavyweight crown.
"Everyone wants to see the resolution of the
heavyweight championship of the world," TVKO senior vice president Mark Taffet said.
"As a result, the focus is on Holyfield and Lewis and their quest to determine who is
the champion. Our marketing plan is as extensive a promotion as Holyfield-Lewis I."
The company was able to attract several major sponsors for
the event, which will retail at a suggested price of $49.95.
Internet company Excite@Home Corp. is on board as official
online sponsor for the event, TVKO vice president and general manager Dan York said.
Excite will launch a Web site specific to the fight, which will provide up-to-date
information, fight-camp reports and live Webcasts of the weigh-in ceremonies and prefight
and postfight press conferences.
Consumer-electronics retailer Best Buy will run replays of
the first Holyfield-Lewis fight on its high-definition television displays within its 326
stores, York said. The programming will be tagged with local information about ordering
Anheuser-Busch Inc.'s Budweiser beer will provide
"very extensive" national cable- and broadcast-TV fight advertising, including
spots during National Football League games and broader network programs.
On the national media side, USA Today and TheNew York Times' national edition will run large ads promoting the fight during the
week of the event, York said. TVKO will run print and radio ads in 60 major markets, as
well as ads in national Spanish-language media.
National radio syndicator Westwood One Inc. will broadcast
fight spots across a number of its highly rated programs beginning next week, including
its NFL and college-football games and The Howard Stern Show, York said.
TVKO will tie in with several of its sister media
properties to promote the event, as well. Home Box Office will develop a 30-minute preview
event that will run one week before the fight. In addition, it will promote the event
during its Nov. 6 live heavyweight-boxing card.
HBO Entertainment News will run features on the fight
leading up to the event.
And Sports Illustrated is expected to run a feature
story on Lewis prior to the event, York said.
TVKO will also produce a 30-minute preview show for
operators to run on barker and local channels, York said. In addition, it will provide
operators with a two-day countdown show, which systems can run on barker channels and use
as a marketing tactic against the rate card, he added.
The company is also distributing more than 2 million mail
pieces to operators for the event.
With the financial success of the first fight, coupled with
an already record-breaking revenue year for PPV boxing, Taffet believes this bout has the
potential to match or surpass the performance of the first event.
"We expect this fight to be one of the
highest-grossing PPV events of all time and to further contribute to the record-breaking
performance of boxing for both the category and for TVKO," he said.