P. J. Go | Fri 01/09/2017 - 19:32 EDT

Mayweather and McGregor Hit Hard By Online Pirates

Mayweather and McGregor Hit Hard By Online Pirates

The Most Illegally Watched Fight in History

"That's illegal," echoed UFC President Dana White in one of the most viral clips online. Last Saturday, combat sports' biggest fight of the century between the undefeated boxing legend, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and MMA's biggest superstar, Conor McGregor became online piracy's most expensive victim: an estimated 2.9 million viewers watched the fight through illegal streams making it the most illegally watched fight in history.

Everyone knows streaming paid videos online for free is illegal but the difficulty in charging viewers combined with ease of access make it a losing battle for prosecutors. Even popular TV shows like Game of Thrones and blockbuster movies like Transformers are all prone to this. Online piracy costs the American economy over $250 billion annually and it's not stopping. 

The price of the pay-per-view, a hefty $100 didn't help its case although White boasted the Mayweather vs McGregor bout shattered PPV records with a whopping 6.5 million buys. If that is accurate, it obliterates the previous record holder: a superfight between Mayweather and eight-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, which sold 2.4 million. 

With an estimated 700 million in revenue, the Mayweather-McGregor fight still cashed out considering many boxing fans and pundits dismissed it as a "circus". Contrary to these preconceived notions, McGregor put up a decent showing and the fight itself was more entertaining than the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout which was considered a massive disappointment considering its five-year build up. 

Mayweather and McGregor are likely somewhere laughing with all the riches they've made. The bout went as well as they could have hoped: it will likely set revenue records, it was entertaining, Mayweather retired on a great note, and McGregor showed he was no slouch. And on top of that, they now earned the dubious distinction of being the most pirated event in combat sports history.

Mayweather vs McGregor Flops on UFC Fight Pass

The bout was co-promoted by the UFC and fans had the option to watch it on the online streaming service, UFC Fight Pass. However, prior to the event, the site crashed due to overwhelming traffic. The service simply didn't have the proper servers to handle the immense load. Fans went irate on social media with most demanding refunds. Others most likely turned to illegal streams. 

UFC President Dana White finally addressed this issue and promised refunds to everyone who were locked out of the service. This appeared like a slight blow to the overall earnings of the bout but it gives significant damage to the UFC's streaming service and it comes at a bad time with an exclusive event airing just a week after the bout. With Fight Pass's bad publicity, it only gives fans more incentive to use pirated streams and may hurt Fight Pass's credibility in the long run.

Fight Pass launched in 2013 and is available to 173 countries and territories. It is widely considered one of the UFC's best properties and is often dubbed the "Netflix of combat sports" with its 24-hour linear streaming service. However, it has been plagued by many issues with server crashes and a faulty search function being two among many.

The concept itself is great and will only get better as it keeps beefing up its library to include sports beyond MMA like Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and maybe soon, boxing. But it first needs to build its trustworthiness and flopping on the night of the biggest fight in combat sports history is terrible. Still, Fight Pass is here to stay and is a worthy investment in the long term.

Watching sports online is the way of the future and so is betting online using online sportsbooks. These are also available to Canadians and allows them to ditch plenty of the outdated provincial options, which also cut potential winnings. These top-rated books also offer signup bonuses of up to $200 and have plenty of betting options not limited to boxing or UFC/MMA. And unlike Fight Pass, the books are always reliable.

Category : UFC

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