Saturday’s megafight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will not be available to stream live online legally — but it would have been streamed legitimately if Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank, had its way. The company, run by Bob Arum, has been a pioneer in legal live streaming of boxing events, with several already under its belt, and planned to continue the effort with what certainly would have been the biggest live streamed boxing match ever.
But, according to a Bloomberg Business News, report, the Top Rank plan was kayoed by the two cable networks cooperating to produce the pay-per-view broadcast, who put the kibosh on the whole idea.
“It wasn’t a decision I was in favor of,” Top Rank President, and son-in-law of Bob Arum, Todd duBeof said. “But I understood why they wanted to do it.”
Top Rank has entered into a deal with MLB Advanced Media, the company that produces the MLB.TV online service, which provides live streams of almost every Major League Baseball game, and has each season since 2003, for a subscription fee.
Top Rank struck that deal in 2012, and has since put several fights online, including the controversial bout between Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley that same year, which Pacquiao lost by a highly questionable judge’s decision.
Showtime and HBO have been aggressive in shutting down illegal live streams on the fight before they have a chance to actually go online — though new sites seem to pop up as soon as the sites targeted by lawsuits shut down — but have no interest in streaming the fight legally on their own.
Presumably, a legal online stream would cost about the same as the approximately $100 fee for the pay-per-view broadcast.
“Our focus is on terrestrial TV and a secure method to deliver the Mayweather-Pacquiao event to the masses,” an HBO spokesperson told Bloomberg. The news service also reached out to Showtime, but that network was so uninterested in live streaming, it didn’t bother to provide a response.
Oddly enough, the $100 fight will be broadcast for free in several countries around the world.
Those countries include Mexico, China, Colombia, South Africa, Thailand, and France.
Viewers in the United Kingdom will pay just £19.95 — which is about 30 bucks in American money.
But even in those countries, there will be no legal, live online streaming of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao megafight.
[Image: HBO Boxing]