Showtime Nets 230K+ Buys for Tyson Fight

At least former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson gave the cable industry one last payday.

Showtime Event Television’s June 11 Tyson-Kevin McBride event drew more than 200,000 buys, but his unexpected loss all but ended his career as a boxer and a major PPV draw.

Showtime is estimating that the $44.95 PPV event -- in which Tyson quit on his stool after six rounds -- will generate 230,000-280,000 buys, according to Showtime Sports and Event Programming senior vice president and general manager Ken Hershman.

While the number is higher than Showtime anticipated -- and better than the approximately 150,000 buys for Tyson’s PPV knockout loss to Danny Williams last July -- it falls well short of Tyson’s performances in the late 1990s, when he regularly topped the 1 million-buy mark.

After his second loss in as many years, Tyson announced his retirement from the ring last week. But even if he decided to fight again, Hershman said it would be “very difficult” to sell Tyson as a PPV attraction.

While Tyson’s PPV-boxing career is over, Hershman said Showtime will continue to distribute future PPV-fight shows. The network is planning a major fall event, most likely featuring a rematch of the thrilling May 7 Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo lightweight-championship fight that aired on the Showtime pay network.

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.