Stream On! Showtime is being sued over tech issues with the Mayweather-McGregor fight

Bad streams could cost Showtime PPV millions in refunds

The Floyd Mayweather tenth round TKO over Connor McGregor was supposed to be a streaming video historic moment. It was billed by Showtime Pay-per-view as an event done in of 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second.

For those who do not speak streaming video language, it is the most perfect of all video. The highest streaming definition in the fastest of speeds, it is the high definition holy grail.

Now at least one unhappy fan is taking Showtime PPV to court over his inability to view the fight. We at News and Sports Talk Florida reported the problems on Monday.

Zack Bartel, filed the suit because he bought the fight on the Showtime app in iTunes and, instead of watching it in high definition as advertised, he got grainy video, error messages and buffer messages. His suit claims that Showtime engaged in “unlawful trade practices” and “unjust enrichment”.

“Instead of being upfront with consumers about its new, untested, underpowered service, defendant caused the likelihood of confusion and misunderstanding as to the source and quality of the HD video consumers would see on fight night,” attorney Michael Fuller wrote in the complaint.

“Defendant (Showtime PPV) 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.”

It is not yet apparent if he would be joined in the suit by others who had problems with the streaming video. As we reported it was a problem that affected a number of viewers, myself included.

Showtime has not commented directly on the lawsuits, which were brought by two separate fight fans in Oregon and New York federal courts. But Chris DeBlasio, senior VP of sports communications for Showtime, told several outlets the network was offering limited refunds. “While we at Showtime received a very limited amount of complaints, we will issue a full refund to any customers who purchased the event directly from Showtime and were unable to receive the telecast,” he said.

Meanwhile, UFC, whose Fight Pass app also had a number of issues, said that they were looking into what caused their tech problems.The UFC group was getting requests for refunds from disappointed customers and is “reviewing each request on a case-by-case basis.”

Dana White, President, and CEO of the UFC put out a statement: “We’re incredibly disappointed by the technical difficulties that were experienced Saturday night, and we’re working with our vendor NeuLion to assess exactly what happened. Nothing is more important to the UFC than our fans. They’ve always been incredibly loyal and supportive and we’ll always take care of them.”

So, if you bought the fight and had either trouble with the live streaming of the fight or the cable version of the event, then you must contact your local cable company.

At this point, it is not known how this technical problem will impact the nearly half a billion dollars in estimated revenue generated from the fight.

For the record I am not joining the suit, I will simply be seeking just my $100-dollar refund. I suggest that if you had problems, then seek a refund through your local cable company or streaming service.

Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.