Boxing: Earnings of pounds 5.2m in pay-TV event

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The Independent Online
The Las Vegas boxing line-up, headlined by the Tyson-Holyfield bout, attracted 420,000 pay-per-view customers, far in excess of initial forecasts.

Sky Sports, which broadcast the match live in the early hours of Sunday morning, will get 50 per cent of the pounds 5.2m earned from the pay-per-view event, with the rest going to boxing promoter Don King. United Kingdom cable companies, which distributed the event to their own customers, were paid a fee of about 18 per cent of the retail price of pounds 9.95 per household, which will come out of Sky's share of the proceeds.

The result was being viewed yesterday as proof that pay-per-view broadcasting had a vibrant future in the UK, despite early criticisms that Sky Sports subscribers did not want to "pay twice" for top sporting events - once through their Sky subscriptions of as much as pounds 26.99 per month, and again for events broadcast on a limited, pay-per-view basis.

About 300,000 viewers paid the standard pounds 9.95 for the American boxing event, with the rest paying a premium pounds 14.95 after Friday midnight. That compares to 660,000 who paid for the Bruno-Tyson fight earlier this year.

Sky now intends to add other pay-per-view events to the schedule, concentrating on boxing and other sporting events. Eventually, pay-per-view movies will also be offered, at a rate of about pounds 2 or pounds 3 a time.