An overabundance of fans for the May 2 Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas is to blame for the failure of several cable and satellite systems.
Numerous cable television customers found themselves in the midst of their own fight Saturday when they tried to order the pay-per-view boxing match.
Consumer delays didn’t sit well with an industry that already has a reputation for poor service from competition with streaming video providers.
Many boxing fans completely avoided the cable companies by watching the live fight via video-streaming apps such as Twitter’s Periscope and Meerkat. The so-called fight of the century ended with Mayweather beating Pacquiao by a unanimous decision on Saturday.
For many watching the match, live streaming may have just won them over by a unanimous decision as well. Broadcasters were suffering a major headache as many watching the fight, which cost up to $100 on pay-per-view, chose to live-stream instead.
Even HBO used its Periscope Twitter account to live-stream backstage footage to provide exclusive online content to its followers.
The ease with which people can live-stream events with apps is a raising concern for cable companies. Last week, Showtime and HBO filed a lawsuit to block several of websites that wanted to – illegally – stream the fight. However, blocking Meerkat and Periscope proved much more challenging.
Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, remained supportive of live-streaming of rights-protected events, while Periscope co-founder, Kayvon Beykpour, denounced the illegal streams.
The $100 fee to watch the boxing match was likely a factor that drove many people to live-streaming apps. Another factor was no doubt the issues cable companies were having trying to keep up with customer demand as many experienced technical difficulties while trying to order the fight.
There’s no doubt the fight of the century sparked a new battle of its own between cable companies and popular live-streaming apps, which could prove to generate an even larger fight than Mayweather and Pacquiao.