Sky to charge pounds 9.95 for Bruno

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The Independent Online
Britain's first pay-per-view sports event is to be Frank Bruno's defence of his world heavyweight title against Mike Tyson to be shown live on Sky Television next month.

Subscribers among the company's 3.2 million households which receive the service by satellite will be able to see the contest from Las Vegas for pounds 9.95.

Another 1.5 million homes which get the signal by cable may also see the contest if their particular service-provider, which will be charged the same amount per customer, opts to take the fight in the early hours of 17 March.

Executives at Sky will be watching the uptake closely, but if as many as 8 per cent of subscribers pay to view - as is the norm in the US - it could be worth around pounds 3.75m to the satellite station and the promoters.

However, the company was adamant yesterday that it had no further plans to show any other premium sports event on a pay-per-view basis, insisting that the deal had been driven by the fight's promoters who would otherwise have shown it in cinemas and clubs on a closed-circuit system.

Concern had been growing that eight big sporting events - such as Wimbledon, the Grand National and the FA Cup - might be lost from terrestrial television and shown exclusively on subscription-only channels like Sky Sports.

But ministers, who had previously refused to give any guarantees about the future of the so-called "crown jewels of sport", were forced to back down earlier this month after the House of Lords inflicted a defeat on the Broadcasting Bill over the issue.

Promoters of the Bruno v Tyson fight, said if the event proved to be a success they would be looking to pay- per-view as the way forward for big boxing events on British television.