As thousands of customers tuned in to watch the pay-per-view boxing fight on Saturday night, cable and satellite companies crumbled under the load.
There was strong demand for the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas, with many people trying to order the pay-per-view station on the last second, causing problems for the TV companies. For an industry already facing increased criticism from consumers over poor service, this incident doesn’t look good.
Many people at the fight, however, broadcast the event via their phones with the Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope video streaming apps. Some people who had tried to buy the fight and failed fled to social media to watch the fight for free, online.
The showing, expected to be the most popular in pay-per-view history, is expected to have sold 3 million views at $100 each. Who’s to say how much the cable companies missed out on with the systems failures.
BoxingHD.net and SportShip.org were both set to air the big match, but last week, CBS and Time Warner’s HBO successfully took them to federal court, blocking them from airing the fight online.
Cable and satellite companies’ names were ringing loud and clear on Twitter, with some users complaining of problems with both ordering and watching. Some users even complained that once they had paid for the show, it wasn’t available to watch. Still, others complained about the picture quality or inability to even tune to the pay-per-view channel.
Todd Smith, a spokesperson for Cox Communications, said their problems were limited to those who were ordering the fight at the last minute, unlike some other TV companies.
“Customers who ordered the fight but were unable to see it should contact us for a full refund. For cases where customers experienced other technical issues during the fight, those will be evaluated on a case by case basis.”
Dish Network and Cox were inundated with complaining users on their Twitter accounts. Representatives from these companies informed people that there were problems with the standard definition feed of the fight, and that those using the high definition feed should have fewer problems. DirecTV, meanwhile, simply referred people to a troubleshooting page.
InDemand, the company that provides the stream from the event to the cable companies, said that there were no issues with the link between the event location and the TV companies.
“It was flawless. There were no problems with that signal,” said Ellen Cooper, InDemand spokesperson.
Time Warner Cable spokesperson Rich Ruggiero said that his company had issues in New York City, which were resolved before the fight began. He added that any other issues were rare and “high localized,” meaning they only affected small groups of houses.
Dish Network was more optimistic about the issues than its competitors. “We’re seeing and gracefully managing a lot of demand — which is a good thing,” spokesman Bob Toevs said.
DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer just said that the heavy volume caused some problems with their service.