Will Showtime Take a Blow for Streaming Issues in Highly-Anticipated Mayweather-McGregor Fight?
In August, Showtime aired the highly-anticipated fight of Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. Customers had to pay $99.95 to live stream the event. However, some angry customers filed class actions against Showtime, NeuLion, Zuffa, Zuffa owner William Morris, and Endeavor Entertainment LLC alleging that the live streams did not live up to expectations. The cases are spread out through districts in New York, Nevada, California, and Oregon. Customers are upset because highly-anticipated live stream was disrupted because of pay-per-view issues.
Specifically, customers allege that “as a result of sever failure or other technical failures on [Showtime’s] part, subscribers were unable to view substantial portions of the event, and some class members were unable to view the entire event.” Additionally, another customer alleged that “instead of being ‘witness to history’ as [Showtime] had promised, the only thing plaintiff witnessed was a grainy video, error screens, buffer events, and stalls.” And when these customers tried to get a refund they allege Showtime “made the process unreasonably difficult” and many customers never received their money back. Showtime has attributed the glitches to high demand and cable and satellite outages.
Showtime recently asked for New York to be the venue for the consolidation of lawsuits over these live streaming issues. Showtime argued that the eight lawsuits should be combined in the Southern District of New York because their claims are largely similar to each other, even though some of the lawsuits name different defendants. Showtime also argued that there is a danger of inconsistent rulings across the cases, and that in many instances suggested class members make similar allegations, such as difficulties streaming the fight, false advertising, and unjust enrichment. Counsel for plaintiffs in the two Nevada cases, Hart Robinovitch of Zimmerman Reed LLP said “if they do consolidate, I don’t think that’s going to be any barrier to prosecuting the case but it is just going to need creative lawyering and scheduling by the parties.”