Bruno deal covers pay-per-view

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The Independent Online

A disagreement with Frank Bruno will not prevent Sky Television from making his defence of the World Council heavyweight championship against Mike Tyson next month the first major sports event to be shown in Britain on pay-per-view television.

Sam Chisholm, chief executive of BSkyB, had said on Tuesday that a financial dispute with Bruno over pay-per-view revenue from the fight might change the satellite station's plans.

However, Frank Warren, Bruno's promoter, said yesterday: "I don't know of any dispute with him. Bruno's contract covers all aspects of media coverage, including pay-per-view."

Warren pointed out also that Bruno's contract to meet Tyson at the MGM casino in Las Vegas on 16 March is not with Sky, but with Don King Productions Incorporated. "It's up to Don who he sells the fight to," Warren said.

Bruno, who is thought to be getting around $7m (pounds 4.6m) for a first defence of the title he won last year after linking up with Warren and King, wants extra money for helping Sky with promotional activity, but this has no bearing on his contract.

The contest, to be shown here live at about 4 am on 17 March, is more or less certain to be a pay-per-view event, although plans to include it in a six-hour package have fallen through. The package would have included Naseem Hamed's defence of the World Organisation featherweight title, Joe Bugner's return to the British ring and a major film.

Sky will have to decide which of its channels could support a pay-per- view event, without annoying subscribers who have already paid to receive the relevant channel. Another thorny technical issue is how to ensure that only those who have paid the "per-view" fee receive the television signal. This might mean sending out special smart cards to unscramble the video signal.