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How The Mayweather vs Pacquiao Fight Was Streamed

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

The Mayweather vs Pacquiao Fight was indeed a watershed moment for the nascent Pay Per View (PPV) industry. According to reliable estimates available with the media outlets, as many as 3 million people shelled out 100 bucks to watch the two legends fight each other for the very first time. But the event was also plagued with delays, technical issues and reports of piracy. Now that the dust has settled and Mayweather has beaten Pacquiao comprehensively, it is time to analyze how millions of fans actually watched the fight of the century.

It goes beyond saying that HBO and Showtime received a phenomenal response to the event. Cable companies and ISPs were besieged with so many orders that they were unable to cope up with the demand and HBO had to delay the fight by over 45 minutes in order to accommodate last minute orders. However, there were also reports of widespread outage and many people who actually paid for the fight were unable to watch it on their TVs due to technical issues. Angry customers vented their anger on Twitter and also kept the support staff of the cable companies busy. Cable companies are now offering a full refund to viewers who were unable to watch the event due to technical problems.

As the day of the fight approached, there were also big concerns that the PPV event would be marred by piracy. HBO and Showtime were on their toes for such a possibility and they actually filed lawsuits against sites that were planning to show the fight without authorization. However, in the end, a lot of people did manage to watch the event without paying a dime through apps like Periscope and Meerkat.

Both Periscope and Meerkat allow their users to record videos and stream it live via social media. While it can be argued that some people chose this route as they were unable to watch the event even after paying for it, it goes without saying that a majority of users who watched the fight through these apps did not intend to pay at all. Due to widespread sharing of the fight through these apps, Dick Costolo, the CEO of Twitter; even tweeted that the real winner of the day was Periscope.

It is not clear how HBO and Showtime are planning to deal with the reports of piracy. Where there is a speculation that the broadcasters would sue those who streamed the event illegally, some media outlets are claiming that the companies may also file lawsuits against individuals who watched the event for free. However, filing lawsuits against individuals could not only prove costly, it could also backfire by bringing a lot of bad publicity for HBO and Showtime.

Many people also chose the VPN route to watch the fight. Many leading VPN companies such as PureVPN and ibVPN published detailed articles on how to watch the Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight from anywhere through their service. Since the fight was available for free in a number of countries (Mexico, Dubai, France, Peru, Colombai, China etc.), it was possible to watch the event online by changing one’s IP through a VPN service and then accessing the website of the provider that was streaming the fight live.

All in all, the Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight amply demonstrated that piracy remains a key threat to blockbuster PPV events as well as how broadcasters must ramp up their capabilities to meet the demands of the customers.

May 6, 2015

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