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Yesterday, NBA and Fox made their final bids on a new 6-year Wimbledon contract. Incumbents HBO and NBC "most likely" bumped their annual fee from a current combined figure of $20M to $25M- plus. Fox Sports spokesperson Vince Wladika denied Fox and its fX cable partner met the $35M a year goal they would need to win the U.S. rights. Wladika: "That's the wrong terms and dollars, and it's not just for U.S. rights." Fox hopes to combine European and Asian satellite rights, which NBC and HBO contend should be separated from U.S. rights (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 11/10).
Showtime Event TV (SET) is counting on big boxing events to "punch up" pay-per-view event revenue to $396M next year, "nearly double what the company is projecting for the industry's current year." McAdory Lipscomb, Exec VP/GM for SET, said the possible return to the ring of Mike Tyson combined with new champion George Foreman "will add major marquee value to boxing." Boxing still accounts for about 50% of revenue in the PPV business. Lipscomb: "When you begin to look at the marquee fighters, next year will be pretty big" (Stephen Battagilo, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 11/9). BIG GEORGE VS. IRON MIKE? Don King responded to George Foreman's proposal of a fight between Foreman and Mike Tyson saying it would be "short term gain for long term pain" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 11/9). Tyson removed his request for an appeal and will serve the remainder of his sentence. He is eligible for parole in May ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 11/9). BOXING RATINGS: HBO Sports' coverage of the Foreman-Moorer fight drew the network's highest rating since '90 for an "original non-movie program" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 11/9).