The upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will be one of the biggest sports events of the decade—and most-watched boxing match the sport has seen in far longer. But with today’s live-streaming technology, profits from at-home viewers could take a hit.
Mayweather and Pacquiao will finally meet glove-to-glove on May 2. To say the fight between boxing’s best has been eagerly awaited by fans is a gross understatement. Even people who aren’t big boxing followers have been waiting for the day the two would meet in the ring.
The matchup is being billed as “The Fight of the Century,” and it doesn’t seem like just a bunch of marketing hype. In terms of money, it has already made history.
Each fighter will take home a paycheck somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million. Experts predict total revenue will be $300-400 million. Of that total, ticket sales will bring in plenty, with prices ranging from $3,500 to $250,000. The 1,000 public tickets that went on sale were all sold within one minute.
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Pay-Per-View sales are expected to bring in millions and pummel all past records. The PPV price will be $90 to $100. That’s just enough to squeeze out a lot of people who’d love to watch the action live. And that creates a market for piracy.
Just having a market, though, isn’t enough. Without the means to transmit the fight live, would-be lawbreakers would have their hands tied.
The live aspect is key, both in terms of garnering views and in thwarting arrest. Sure, someone always posts copyrighted fight videos on YouTube, which stay up for a short while—sometimes very short—before being removed. That’s small-time piracy and pretty easy to contain.
The bigger threat comes from live-streaming the action as it happens. It would extremely difficult to catch the culprits. And there could be a big potential audience.
Unlike during any of the previous decades’ mega-fights, live-streaming technology today is advanced and available to the masses. There are not one, but several live-streaming apps on the market—free, easy-to-use, and anonymous.
Of course, that doesn’t mean someone will. It’s all unchartered territory But with Twitter followers being treated like currency, there is (at least perceived) value in having a bigger number. That could be all the motivation someone needs to try to attract new followers by live-streaming copyrighted content.
Of all the copyright infringements, mainstream piracy has the biggest potential to do damage. Will it be a long, drawn-out battle between copyright holders and Internet pirates? Will it be a knockout? Will it never get off the ropes? The world will be watching when the bell rings on May 2.