Keeping the Combat Out of Court: Why Bar and Restaurant Owners Should Be Careful Showing Mayweather v. Pacquaio

Posted by

This Saturday, May 2nd, hundreds of millions of viewers are expected to tune in to what is being titled the “Fight of the Century.” Floyd “Money” Mayweather brings his 47-0 professional record to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the long-awaited fight against eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao.

Fans have been calling for this bout since 2009. With six years of hype and several failed negotiations preceding it, the match is expected to pulverize previous pay-per-view records and become the highest grossing fight in boxing history. With so much hype and excitement surrounding the fight, restaurateurs and bar owners across the country will surely take advantage by showing the bout to pull in customers.

Sporting event exhibitions are an excellent and valuable way of advertising a business and increasing a customer base. It offers the casual fan a venue for viewing when they would otherwise not want to spend the high cost of purchasing the fight on their own, and it can bring in those diehard fans searching for a more social atmosphere to enjoy it in. But if the business managers do not carefully comply with the necessary preconditions, it can invite the unwanted attention of litigation.

Sporting event licensees have been cracking down on businesses trying to capitalize on major events. Joe Hand Promotions, a premier UFC pay-per-view distributor, and J & J Productions, a leading boxing match distributor, are common plaintiffs against businesses who show sporting events to the public without the proper licensing, each bringing several hundred lawsuits in a given year. They have both collected some substantial monetary awards. For example, in 2012, Plaza Mexico Bar & Grill in Laredo, TX was forced to pay $32,500 to a UFC sales agent for an unlicensed exhibition of the 2010 UFC fight between Koscheck and Daley.

The Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 553, expressly prohibits intercepting or receiving unauthorized communications via cable and exhibiting them for commercial gain. For similar violations via satellite, § 605 governs. Violations of the Communications Act carry with them a penalty of not less than $1,000 and not more than $10,000. In a finding of a willful violation, which requires a simple disregard for obtaining the license to show, a court will multiply the amount of damages, but not exceed $100,000. When doing so, courts look to compensate for the complainant’s lost business revenues, as well as penalize the violator to prevent future violations. To make matters worse, the statute mandates violators pay the opposition’s attorney fees and costs.

The horror stories from businesses caught violating the Communications Act, and other copyright laws, range from nominal amounts to over $100,000 penalties. In 2009, Rio De La Plata Bakery Shop, in Queens, NY was forced to pay over $110,000 for violating the statute. In many circumstances, plaintiffs have been able to hold managers and owners vicariously liable in their individual capacity if they can show the defendant had a right and ability to supervise the exhibition and had a strong financial interest in it. Thus, a bar owner could find himself or herself personally liable for the amount awarded for a violation. In 2014, a principal director of Eddie’s Back Bar in Dallas, Texas was held personally liable for an unauthorized exhibition of UFC 114: Rampage v. Evans. In Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Leija, No. 3:13-CV-1462-L, 2014 WL 1095034 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 20, 2014), the defendant failed to respond to the lawsuit and the court entered a $60,000 award against him for a willful violation of the Communications Act.

To prove a violation of the statute, the distributor need only show that the defendant business showed the event and that the business did not have the required license to do so. Production companies have gotten very good and crafty in catching violators. Often they will hire private or amateur investigators to attend public viewings and take a few quick videos of the exhibitions with their smart phones. Joe Hand Promotions even has a link on its website for whistleblowers to report alleged violators. The UFC has caught hundreds of violators in this manner, and has  obtained $4.7 million in settlements between 2006 and 2012.

Many violators think they can get away with purchasing a residential license for $80 to $100 instead of the commercial license that would range from $1,500 to $3,000. Such violators then broadcast their residential license in their business to avoid the inflated premium. But with the law and technology stacked against them, these violators are in serious risk of expensive financial liability. So, if you’re a business owner seeking to turn a profit off Mayweather v. Pacquiao, the best bet would be to give the promoters their cut, pony up for the commercial license, and just try to enjoy the bout. Otherwise, you will be suspiciously eyeing every patron in your bar with a cell phone, wondering whether they are a private investigator looking to turn a profit off of you.



  1. I’m the business owner of JustCBD Store company ( and I’m presently aiming to expand my wholesale side of business. I really hope that someone at targetdomain share some guidance 🙂 I considered that the most suitable way to do this would be to reach out to vape stores and cbd retail stores. I was really hoping if someone could suggest a trusted site where I can get CBD Shops Business Mailing List I am presently looking at, and On the fence which one would be the most suitable option and would appreciate any advice on this. Or would it be easier for me to scrape my own leads? Suggestions?

  2. I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I came across this during my search for something relating to this.

  3. Having read this I believed it was really enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  4. Right here is the perfect web site for anyone who would like to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that’s been discussed for a long time. Wonderful stuff, just great!

  5. Hello there! This blog post could not be written much better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this article to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  6. An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I think that you need to write more on this subject matter, it might not be a taboo subject but typically people do not discuss such topics. To the next! Cheers!!

  7. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after going through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely happy I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

  8. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy I found this during my hunt for something concerning this.

  9. You are so interesting! I do not think I’ve truly read through anything like this before. So nice to discover someone with some genuine thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

  10. Can I simply just say what a comfort to discover somebody who truly knows what they’re discussing on the web. You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people really need to read this and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

  11. I’m extremely pleased to uncover this website. I wanted to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every little bit of it and I have you book marked to see new stuff in your web site.

  12. I blog often and I truly appreciate your information. Your article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed too.

  13. Hi there! I just wish to offer you a big thumbs up for your excellent information you have here on this post. I’ll be returning to your site for more soon.

  14. This is the right webpage for everyone who really wants to find out about this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that has been written about for many years. Great stuff, just great!

  15. Hi, I do think this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back once again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

  16. Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking the time and actual effort to make a top notch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

  17. Hello there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I am going to send this article to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a great read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  18. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy I found this in my search for something concerning this.

  19. This is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

  20. I simply want to say I am just new to blogging and site-building and truly loved this page. Probably I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You definitely come with excellent article content. Cheers for sharing with us your web site.

  21. I needed to thank you for this wonderful read!! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to look at new things you post…

  22. This is a very good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.