Sky has apologised to subscribers after a last-minute surge in demand for Saturday night’s Haye-Klitschko fight left the broadcaster unable to take telephone and web bookings.

Orders made through the set-top box – seen as the principal method of purchasing a pay-per-view event – were unaffected and anyone who booked through this method was still able to watch the fight. The Sky Digibox is capable of providing immediate access to pay-per-view events; the box then calls back to Sky overnight to notify the broadcaster that a purchase has been made.

Early bookings had been promoted on-air for a three-week period up to the fight, but despite bringing in extra staff, the high volumes of calls caused technical problems that could not be fixed before the start of the fight.

Sky says “many viewers” were able to see the fight, and these will be charged in the normal way. By way of compensation Sky screened a replay of the fight at three times on Sunday.