Showtime Event Television is quickly filling its summer
pay-per-view event calendar with a mix of concert and boxing events.
The network announced last week that it will distribute a
taped version of a multiartist PPV concert in September.
Meanwhile, continuing the diversification of its PPV-boxing
efforts, SET will distribute a second card promoted by Bob Arum later this month.
Grammy Award-winning recording artist Ricky Martin will
headline the PPV-concert event, "The Prince's Trust Concert," which took place
over the July 4 weekend, SET executives said.
Martin will be joined by such popular musical artists as
Shania Twain, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and pop group Boyzone. The concert will
debut Sept. 25 at a suggested retail price of $19.95.
SET -- which, for years, has only offered Don King-promoted
PPV-boxing events -- will provide marketing and promotional support for a July 31 event
distributed by Arum's company, Top Rank Inc.
The Hispanic-targeted card will feature World Boxing
Council super bantamweight champion Erik Morales and former junior flyweight champion
Michael Carbajal in separate bouts, SET said.
The financial details of the arrangement are unclear, and
SET executives would not comment on the matter.
This is the second SET/Arum PPV-boxing deal. The first was
June's Johnny Tapia-Paulie Ayala World Boxing Association bantamweight-championship fight
And Showtime is not limiting itself to Arum: SET will
distribute an Aug. 7 Shannon Briggs-Francois Botha PPV event distributed by promoter
Showtime Sports and Event Programming executive vice
president Jay Larkin said the company will look to do other similar deals with promoters
in an attempt to diversify its PPV-boxing programs. "We're happy to do the kind of
deals that we have with Top Rank, as well as with Cedric Kushner," he said.
While these fights are not of the magnitude of the Mike
Tyson events that Showtime is accustomed to, Larkin said, the distribution of several
smaller fights actually works to its advantage financially.
"We realize that there's an economy of scale [on
smaller fights], so we can more cost-effectively market and promote a number of fights
simultaneously than one fight every few months," he added.
Meanwhile, Showtime hasn't set a date for the return of its
biggest PPV draw, Tyson. The former heavyweight champion was released from jail last month
after serving three months of a one-year sentence for a road-rage conviction.
Showtime executives said Tyson could enter the ring as
early as September or October, most likely in a Showtime pay TV fight. It's unclear
whether the fighter will appear in a PPV event before the end of the year.
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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.