Will People Really Watch Mayweather-Pacquiao on Periscope?

While the boxing world debates who will with the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, some social media analysts are debating what impact live-streaming sites like Periscope or Meerkat may have, if any.

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There is no doubt that this is one of the biggest fights of all time. The hype has brought bandwagon boxing fans in from all ranks. It has also brought the most pay-per-view price tag ever – which may be out of the price range for some viewers.

Enter piracy.

While most proactive anti-piracy efforts have focused on websites which will attempt to illegally stream the match – and those who profit from such illegal streams – newer live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope pose another problem entirely. Shutting down streaming sites may be challenging enough, but finding and halting all accounts which may be streaming the fight will likely prove impossible.

HBO, which is presenting the fight in conjunction with Showtime, has already clashed with Periscope – which only launched in March 2015. HBO sent takedown notices to Periscope in response to the streaming of Game of Thrones by Periscope users. The difference here, however, is that the fight will be long over before any such action could be taken to stop streaming on Periscope.

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Even if stopping the streaming of the fight is deemed impossible, it has been suggested that the “experience” of watching a low-resolution stream – consisting of a cell phone being pointed at a television screen – may not be enticing enough to be considered a real threat. There is also the possibility that someone ringside may attempt to stream the fight from their perspective, but it still isn’t likely to be a more compelling viewer experience than the official HD broadcast.

Experts are divided. Doug Davis, son of music producer Clive Davis, told NBC News, “Coming out of the music business, I know that if consumers are given a free option, they are going to take that option. I think this is the moment that Periscope comes to the masses.”

Although I’ll be glued to the fight myself, I plan to check Periscope throughout to see what kinds of streams are actually showing it, and how popular they are.  I will post a follow-up at that time.

Do you think Periscope and Meerkat are a viable way to (illegally) view the fight?