Mayweather v. McGregor

By: Mark Lamartina

Many viewers were left miffed leading up to the Floyd Mayweather v. Conor McGregor fight on Saturday August 26, 2017, as they experienced streaming issues. One Showtime customer, Zack Bartel, was particularly troubled by the whole experience as he tried to stream the fight in high-definition through the Showtime app, but claims the only thing displayed was “grainy video, error screens, buffer events, and stalls.”[1]

Attorney Michael Fuller filed an action against Showtime Networks, Inc. in Oregon Federal Court late Saturday.[2] The class action sets forth several counts as to why customers were perturbed by the whole experience and demand just compensation. The action is for unlawful trade practices and unjust enrichment, claiming the network did not secure enough bandwidth to withstand all the incoming online traffic.[3] The complaint further stated the "defendant 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."[4]

Plaintiffs support their stance by alleging the Defendant’s desire to maximize profit was a key factor for the network’s failure to uphold their promise in the contract.[5] As a result of this event being the first major fight available on pay-per-view without the need for a cable subscription, Showtime focused more on attracting customers rather than ensuring the service provided was the same quality as contractual obligated.

This class action lawsuit involves Oregon consumers who viewed the event through the Showtime app and paid the $99.99, but did not receive the fight in HD at 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second, as advertised.[6] The effect of this misrepresentation is worsened because not only were customers forced to view the event in less than optimal quality, but some customers were completely blocked from viewing the event at all.

Although the customers are understandably outraged by the quality deficiency of the program as delivered by the provider, some anger is misplaced towards Showtime. Showtime Senior VP Sports Communications Chris DeBlasio stated that Showtime is receiving a massive number of complaints from a large amount of customers who were not using Showtime, but rather a different provider.[7] Therefore, they are not able to assist those customers but are willing to help their own customers.[8] In an effort to rectify the situation, Showtime is offering a total refund directly to those customers who were unable to fully receive the telecast.[9] One issue with this refund is whether it will be enough to fully compensate the customers. Considering that this event was live and the results are already known, the customers missed the opportunity to experience the fight at that moment. For those customers who were unable to view the fight, it will be up to the Oregon Federal Courts to decide whether the missed opportunity to experience the event live retains any additional value.


[1] Ashley Cullins, Showtime Hit With Class-Action Lawsuit Over Failed Mayweather-McGregor Streams, Hollywood Rep. (Aug. 28, 2017, 11:02 AM), http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/showtime-hit-class-action-lawsuit-failed-mayweather-mcgregor-streams-1033373.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

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