Pay-per-view revenue of UH sports rises
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By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Ferd Lewis
With one date in the 15-event package remaining, unaudited pay-per-view sales of University of Hawai'i sports have shown a 74 percent rise in revenue this year, according to K5.
The increase was aided by a surge in interest in the UH football team, which drew a record 4,100 individual pay-per-view sales for the Nov. 25 Purdue game. By comparison, last year's top individual seller was the Boise State game, which had 1,633 buys. The Alabama game had about 5,000 subscriptions but included approximately 2,500 freebies given as a "courtesy" to football season-ticket holders, K5 said.
"We hoped to do about $2.5 million (in revenue) this year and did $2.7 million, so we are pleased with the results," said John Fink, vice president and general manager of K5. Last year, pay-per-view revenue was $1.55 million, Fink said.
UH athletic director Herman Frazier, speaking through a spokesman, declined comment until audited figures are available.
The hike in revenue comes despite an overall dip in sales of season packages. Fink said the sale of packages dropped from 7,809 last year to 6,646 this year and individual sales rose modestly.
The rise in the price of both season and individual subscriptions accounted for the increase in revenue, Fink said. O'ahu subscribers paid $285 to $350 for the 15-event package this year, compared to $175 to $200 last year. The price of individual events was $50 to $60 in 2006, compared to $40 to $50 last year.
Nine of the 15 events shown this year were football games. The Dec. 23 final night of the Rainbow Classic, which includes the first and third-place games, is the last remaining event.
"I think this points out, once again, what we've been saying all along about pay-per-view and the crowds," Fink said. "The Purdue game, as well as almost every other game, was available on pay-per-view and if it was going to keep people going to the stadium it would be hard to explain 45,000 showing up when the game was available just like most every other game the past four years. To compound the argument even more, the next week (Oregon State) was sold out even with the game on ESPN, which almost everybody gets."
Under terms of their agreement, UH would stand to receive approximately $410,000 from pay-per-view sales while Oceanic Time Warner Cable would get $965,000 and K5 $1,325,000.
Pay-per-view began in 2002 as a way to bring in revenue from fans who couldn't — or wouldn't — attend games. UH received most of the proceeds on an incentive basis. Last year, in exchange for an up-front guarantee of $1.75 million annually for TV rights, the school began turning over the bulk of pay-per-view receipts to K5. Previously, K5 paid UH $1.2 million. But after ESPN began taking more games, K5 said it would only guarantee the school $700,000.
As part of the new agreement, K5 has done away with free same-night delayed telecasts and now shows them on Sunday mornings.
Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.