Last week’s boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was one of the most talked-about fights in boxing history. For months, fans and journalists hyped up the fight, being billed as one of the first of its kind. The match pitted one of boxing’s best against one of the best mixed martial artists in the world for what was a record-breaking sporting event. Live streams of the match cost a whopping $89.95 USD (plus an additional $10 for high-definition) and were broadcast in the United States exclusively by Showtime.
Showtime hasn’t yet released how many fans ordered the pay-per-view event, but pre-fight estimates had that total close to 50 million. With such high expectations and a high price tag, you’d think Showtime would have pulled out all the stops to ensure high-quality streams. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and now Showtime is being sued for misrepresenting their product.
During the fight and immediately after, angry paid customers took to the internet to voice their complaints over the glitches and technical issues experienced during the pay-per-view event. Many customers reported grainy or pixelated streams, long buffering times, or even a loss of the stream altogether. With so many complaints, it wasn’t long before lawyers smelled blood and immediately got to work on a class action lawsuit.
Attorney Michael Fuller filed a complaint in an Oregon federal court last week, writing that Showtime deliberately oversold the quality and availability of the streams:
Instead of being upfront with consumers about its new, untested, underpowered service, defendant caused likelihood of confusion and misunderstanding as to the source and quality of the HD video consumers would see on fight night. [Showtime] intentionally misrepresented the quality and grade of video consumers would see using its app, and knowingly failed to disclose that its system was defective with respect to the amount of bandwidth available, and that defendant’s service would materially fail to conform to the quality of HD video defendant promised.
The lawsuit seeks to reimburse $200 to every customer who couldn’t view the fight “in HD at 1080p resolution and at 60 frames per second, and who experienced ongoing grainy video, error screens, buffer events, and stalls instead.” Showtime, for their part, has attempted to blame the actual providers through whom many customers purchased the event, but has stated it will refund customers who streamed the fight specifically through Showtimeppv.com and the ShowtimePPV app.