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TVKO Puts Wraps on Fight Deal

9/12/1999 8:00 PM Eastern

TVKO is close to finalizing a distribution deal for its
Nov. 13 Evander Holyfield-Lennox Lewis heavyweight-championship-unification pay-per-view
fight.

The rematch will once again pit World Boxing Federation and
World Boxing Association champion Holyfield against World Boxing Council champion Lewis.
The first fight ended in a controversial draw.

"The event is made for Nov. 13 on TVKO PPV, and we are
finalizing the distribution agreements. We look forward to another success with the
rematch," TVKO vice president and general manager Dan York said.

Viewer's Choice senior vice president of programming
Michael Klein would only say that the network is in "discussions with TVKO, but we
have not finalized a deal."

The deal is expected to mirror that of March's
Holyfield-Lewis fight. For that bout, which carried a suggested retail price of $49.95,
operators received a 45 percent split for running 500 spots and implementing at least five
approved marketing tactics, according to sources.

Systems generating a 4.25 percent buy-rate or MSOs pulling
a 4 percent buy-rate were able to receive a 50 percent split on the fight.

The event pulled in about 1.2 million buys and more than
$60 million in revenue -- the third-most-lucrative PPV event in history.

But the fight was filled with controversy. A lackluster
performance by both fighters -- especially Holyfield -- ended in an unpopular draw. The
decision prompted several local and federal investigations into potential fight-fixing
charges by the event's promoters.

Yet despite the fallout, executives are confident that the
rematch can perform as well as or better than its predecessor did.

"The undisputed heavyweight championship is the most
coveted individual title in sports, and we expect that the significance of the event will
result in success similar to the first Holyfield-Lewis fight," York said.

In other heavyweight-boxing news, Showtime has set Oct. 23
as the date for Mike Tyson's return to the ring.

Tyson will face heavyweight contender Orlin Norris, but the
fight will appear on the Showtime pay TV service, and not on PPV via Showtime Event
Television.

 

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