SBD/15/Events Attractions

AFTER SATURDAY'S CONTROVERSY, WHAT WILL BOXING DRAW UP NEXT?

          After a "controversial draw" between Evander Holyfield
     and Lennox Lewis at MSG on Saturday night, boxing's "three
     major sanctioning bodies," the IBF, WBC and WBA, "ordered" a
     rematch to be held "within six months" (William Gildea,
     WASHINGTON POST, 3/15).  After the draw was announced, PPV
     commentator Jim Lampley: "Once again, boxing's cesspool has
     opened to emit an unconscionable odor" (PHILADELPHIA
     INQUIRER, 3/15).  NY Gov. George Pataki said that he "would
     ask" the NY State Athletic Commission "to look into" the
     decision.  Pataki said that the commission "has worked hard
     to bring championship boxing back" to MSG, "but it has to be
     done in a way that upholds the integrity of the game and
     people's confidence in the sport" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/15).  
          PPV: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reported that King could
     make "up to" $6M from PPV, as TVKO's "tracking of cable
     systems" indicated 1.1-1.4 million buys.  Sandomir wrote that
     the fight, which cost $50 for PPV, "could have been sold for
     $40 or $45."  But Time Warner Sports President Seth Abraham
     said PPV buys "are not sensitive to the price if the value is
     right. ... Fifty dollars felt right.  We felt that the price
     was equal to the value of the fight" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/14).  In
     London, Patrick Harverson reports that "early returns
     indicate more than" 1.2 million PPV buys, "bringing in about"
     $60M to the event's promoters. Another $15M was earned from
     the 21,300 ticket sales at MSG, in addition to the $8.5M fee
     charged to MSG to host the fight (FINANCIAL TIMES, 3/15).    
          NEW TV POLICY? In Boston, Ron Borges wrote that HBO
     "used the occasion" of the fight to tell promoters whom they
     work with that the network "is no longer willing to accept
     unattractive challengers for its stable of world champions." 
     Time Warner's Abraham: "We told them all we are going to be
     far more stringent in the fights we'll accept.  We have
     momentum going in boxing and we want to keep it going with
     good fights" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/14).  

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