Showtime KO's PPV Distribution For Hopkins-Pascal Fight

The Dec. 18 Bernard Hopkins-Jean Pascal pay-per-view boxing match, initially scheduled  for distribution via pay-per-view, will now air on the Showtime premium network, according to network executives.

The fight, set to take place in Canada for Pascal's WBC light heavyweight championship, will air live on Showtime at 10 p.m, Showtime Sports executive vice president and general manager Ken
Hershman said Thursday.

Showtime initially pitched the fight to operators as a PPV event with a suggested retail price of $49.95, but
Hershman told Multichannel News that Showtime was able to free up some money to make the fight financially viable to telecast live on the network, although he would not provide specific details.

"This wasn't as much about not doing PPV as much as it was an opportunity to close out the year with a spectacular, big fight," he said. "We also did not feel that the industry was 100% behind the event, but that wasn't what drove the decision."

The move effectively makes HBO's Nov. 13 Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito the last significant PPV event of the year. Industry observers were banking on returns from both the Pacquaio-Margarito and Hopkins-Pascal to help the industry surpass the 4 million buy mark for PPV boxing events this year. The industry is currently sitting at approximately 2.6 million buys, according to estimates.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.