The Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight that happened on May 2nd was one of the biggest boxing events in history, not only for boxing fans, but also for the entire sports industry. For the first time, the online viewership smashed records for pay-per-view spending.
The PPV revenues are still being tallied, but they’re expected to soar past 5 million, with ticket prices that shaped up at $100 in the US, £35 in the UK, $10 in the Caribbean and $56 in the Philippines (2500 Pesos).
However, there’s far more that you can learn from the Maypac fight than just its obvious profitability. While powering a seamless geo-blocked PPV access for the Caribbean with our partners – Livestream and SportsmaxTV, we observed that:
1. The audience is ready for PPV – now!
Online access on mobiles and tablets is fast becoming the preferred ‘on-the-go’ way of digesting sports content among all age groups. Those sports aficionados who opt to witness the sports showdowns from the comfort of their homes are also ready to pay and watch PPV instead of a traditional TV broadcast.
2. Since the scalability is a daunting challenge for cable operators, on-demand services will thrive:
The cable companies missed their chance to convince their customers to pay-per-view content. Instead, many of them failed to deliver due to huge spikes in traffic. As a consequence, they had to deal with refunds to make up for the fallout from their disgruntled customers.
Devan Rosen, director of the emerging media program at Ithaca College summed it up aptly in the Boston Globe:
The fight showed people are willing to pay for what they want to watch, when they want to watch it, but the cable companies burned a lot of bridges. The winners are on-demand content providers, who’ve shown they can handle this kind of traffic.
3. Piracy threats are here to stay
The explosion in simple mobile-based streaming piracy threats is here to stay. Before the fight, HBO and Showtime announced they will take down all illegal streams. But, in fact, they couldn’t do much when the thousands of free streams went up, including the Meerkat and Periscope. It’s a shame, too, since investing in an advanced watermarking solution, such as Cleeng Tattoo, that allows for tracking back the illegal share could have prevented the problem.
4. Social media – the paramount power of promotion
Despite the fact that this fight was announced widely in the public media, it didn’t require an extra press tour, as is typical for most of the big boxing fights. Both fighters & their managers adroitly leveraged their social media fanbase to get the word out about the upcoming PPV several months before it happened. Twitter and Facebook also facilitated live chats during the fight, keeping the fans excited and thriving through the live emotions and tweets.
5. Live PPV stimulates a group viewing experience
If you take the aforementioned Periscope app, its popularity wasn’t due solely to the fact that it offered free access to the streaming, but also because it reinforced the notion of being with other people in the same room who are all sharing the same source and level of excitement.
In the light of above considerations, the future of sports looks really exciting. We hope to see many more massive sporting events emerging as pay-per-view.