$100 is a lot of money. For college kids, that money could go a long way. Gas, food, books, tuition, even an extra hundred dollars in the rainy-day jar. So, would you spend $100 for a pay-per-view match of the decade, Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor? Even if you knew you didn’t have to?
After what seems like years of talking and those funny video memes of McGregor practicing for the match, audiences everywhere were surprised when McGregor lasted 10 rounds with the current champion, but lost to Mayweather by technical knockout. Everybody knows that story already, and nobody was shocked by the outcome, unless you didn’t watch it.
However, the fight was completely overshadowed by the fact that around 3 million people pirated the fight on 239 illegal streams, according to Irdeto, a digital platform security company.
There were many different platforms to watch the fight. If you were a sophisticated pirate, you may have had kodi on your pc, gaming console, or Roku/Amazon Firestick. But, if you were willing to sacrifice quality of the stream any old Facebook Live, Periscope, Twitch.tv, or even YouTube stream would do. These illegal streams were taken down as fast as they appeared. However it’s near impossible to terminate each and every stream.
A popular stream is like a hydra, terminate one head, two more take its place. All was not lost though, there are still people out there who paid the mildly overpriced amount of admission, including some Virginia Wesleyan Students.
Freshman Caleb Carter and junior Adam Kurek opted for the straight and narrow way. “We had a fight party. Everybody invited paid a cover charge. It was pretty fun,” Carter said.
When Kurek was told he missed out on watching it for free and learning how many people actually did, he was astonished at the amount of people watched the fight live, but did not pay for it. “I think that’s fine. Mayweather and McGregor made tons of money from tickets,” said Kurek.
Despite who wins or loses, or in some upside-down world where ticket sales were not great, both men get paid just for agreeing to fight. According to SBNation, Mayweather was guaranteed $100 million win or lose, McGregor coming in at $30 million. Only after the ticket sales and profits from the pay-per-view/streaming services came in did Mayweather make around $300 million and Mcgregor make $150 million. A measly 3 million extra viewers would have been nice, however neither fighters missed it.
If you did get to watch the fight for free, don’t feel guilty. It’s understandable that those 100 singles had to firmly stay in the “my car broke down” jar. Maybe you don’t have friends to split the bill with. Maybe you’re all broke. Maybe you or some of your friends aren’t interested in the fight. Broke college kids who can’t really afford to pay for a fight that they barely want to see. The fight in theory is interesting; two worlds collide: boxing and MMA.
But for the non-casual viewer of boxing, paying $99.99 to sit through three lower card matches where you don’t know who they are or why they’re fighting just to see the main event might not be worth the crisp Benjamin sitting in the bank.
Junior Jacqueline Crabtree did not watch at all and didn’t really care about the fight because she didn’t want to pay for it. “I might have watched it if I had known there were so many other ways to do it, but when you build something up so much and have so many people who really want to see something, people are going to find a way to see it,” said Crabtree.
In this digital age, our generation will stop at nothing to fill their digital craving. You either find a way or make a way; know somebody who has a way and use that way. Hence why the number of illegal views is so high.
Almost everyone is looking for a bargain, and the best bargain is free, so why spend $99.99 for the most hyped up fight of the century when your best friend that’s out of town is streaming it live from his TV for free? You see the part you want to see and get to be in the pop culture conversation the next day.
Like the fighters, everybody wins.