Universal, TVKO Partner on PPV Promo


Boxing will be the central theme when Universal Studios Pay-Per-View and TVKO team for the first-ever PPV promotional tie in between a movie and a fight card.

The "One-Two Punch" multimedia campaign will wrap around both Universal's Aug. 24 PPV debut of the theatrical film The Hurricane and TVKO's Sept. 9 Roy Jones Jr.-Eric Harding light-heavyweight bout, said representatives from the two companies.

Anchoring the promotional effort will be a sweepstakes that offers grand-prize winners a trip to the Jones fight in New Orleans, said Universal Television & Networks Group senior vice president of worldwide pay-per-view and video-on-demand Holly Leff-Pressman.

The Hurricane, which garnered several Academy Award nominations last March and earned $51 million at the box office, tells the story of former middleweight contender Ruben "Hurricane" Carter and his battle for freedom after he was incorrectly jailed on triple-murder charges.

TVKO's Jones-Harding fight is for Jones' undisputed light-heavyweight title and will retail at a suggested price of $34.95.

The promotion marks the first time TVKO has joined with a studio to develop a marketing campaign, said TVKO director of national marketing and promotion Michelle Weber-Rosen. The company will tag its Jones-Harding spots with a message about the movie.

"We're pretty excited that we'll be able to appeal not only to Roy's core audience, but also to the general entertainment viewer through our association with Universal," Rosen said. "The operators have been pushing for an opportunity to cross-promote programming that appeals to the same audience."

Universal will support the sweepstakes through its Web site [www.universalstudios.com/ppv]; cross-channel, print and radio spots; and direct mail. The studio will also link its site to TVKO.com.

Though Universal has developed campaigns with other event distributors, such as World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. and World Championship Wrestling, Leff-Pressman said the TVKO deal provides greater programming synergy.

"We've been successful in the past with our relationships with other event providers, and those didn't have the synergies [with boxing] that we have here," she said.