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The '99 Women's World Cup Organizing Committee said yesterday that it has sold 260,000 tickets to the int'l soccer event held this summer in the U.S. and has been averaging over 10,000 ticket sales a week since the Final Draw was announced on February 14. Officials stated that if the event were to start today, enough tickets would have been sold for an average of nearly 15,300 per playing date. WWC President & CEO Marla Messing said the tournament is "well beyond where we expected to be" in ticket sales: "We believe that it is really a sophisticated soccer audience that is buying the tickets and that doesn't really need to see a lot of advertising to make them buy." Messing speculates the event will have final ticket sales of "between 400- and 500,000," even though earlier event projections were "closer to 380,000" (THE DAILY).
Some "might consider TVKO mad to schedule" Saturday's Evander Holyfield-Lennox Lewis fight during the opening weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament, but Time Warner Sports President Seth Abraham says that "there's a plan behind [the] madness," according to USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke. Abraham: "We scheduled this fight with an eye of being up against the NCAA's. ... We'd rather be up against college basketball than the NBA playoffs. Would we go against the Final Four? No." Martzke writes that "instead of treating the NCAA's like an enemy," TVKO is "joining them" by running ads for the $49.95 PPV event during CBS's hoops coverage. HBO Exec Producer Ross Greenburg: "Our ads should attract the casual sports fans needed to push this fight to the seven-figure [PPV] mark" (USA TODAY, 3/12). HOW BIG WILL THE CHECKETTS BE? In N.Y., Anthony Gargano writes that "there is a buzz" around Saturday's fight at MSG, and the bout is "expected to turn a profit of nearly" $1M, as $1.5M in sponsorship were sold. MSG President Dave Checketts: "You should see who we had to turn down for tickets because they called at the last moment" (N.Y. POST, 3/12). MSG Sports VP Kevin Wynne: "We're going to make a substantial profit on this fight" (USA TODAY, 3/12). NEW SPONSOR: GTC Telecom is sponsoring the event and will have its name displayed on the fight clock throughout the PPV broadcast. The company will also have a full-page ad in the fight program (GTC Telecom).