SBD/2/Sports Media

WAS IT A BAD BACK OR BAD SALES THAT DOOMED SHAQ- HAKEEM?

     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).
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