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WAS IT A BAD BACK OR BAD SALES THAT DOOMED SHAQ- HAKEEM?
Published October 2, 1995
There was speculation over the weekend that a "lack of interest" may have been the real reason behind the cancellation of the Hakeem Olajuwon-Shaquille O'Neal one-on-one pay-per-view event. But Leonard Armato, who represents both players and had set up the match, said, "I can assure you 100%, that was not the case." Mac Lipscomb, head of Showtime Entertainment Television which was to distribute the telecast, "said he had no way of knowing how sales were going." Armato is insured, but he was not sure how much of his losses would be covered (Larry Stewart, L.A. TIMES, 9/30). Armato's financial loss could reach seven figures, according to Brian Schmitz of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Local cable exec Jim Rozier backed Armato's claim that potential losses were not a factor. Rozier who calculates that the event would have cleared close to $1M, said in nine years he has never heard of a PPV event pulled prematurely because of slow sales (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/30). SET's Lipscomb did concede that "there would probably not be a large number of refunds needed" (Barry Jackson, MIAMI HERALD, 9/30). SUBPLOTS: In New York, Shaun Powell writes, "The NBA, no doubt, is probably having its fun at the very costly expense of the promoters" (NEWSDAY, 10/1). In Orlando, George Diaz notes rumors that Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning refused to step in as replacements because of Shaq's pro-union labor stance (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/20).