Pay-per-view problems pop up prior to Mayweather-Pacquiao fight

ByDarren Rovell ESPN logo
Sunday, May 3, 2015

Reports of fans having trouble ordering the fight through their pay-per-view providers filled social media in the hours leading up to the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

HBO Sports spokesman Ray Stallone confirmed that the beginning of the fight was delayed by about 45 minutes to help fix the pay-per-view issues, pushing the start time to approximately 11:45 p.m. ET.

Fans reported issues with some of the biggest providers, including Optimum, DirecTV, Charter, Comcast, Time Warner and AT&T. Problems ranged from issues with ordering, to pixilated screens, to screens going to black after the broadcast had started.

"We are aware of the issue impacting the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao feed," the Charter Communications account tweeted. "We are working to resolve as soon as possible."

With 90 percent of pay-per-view orders coming within hours of the fight, HBO and Showtime engaged in an intense marketing campaign in cooperation with providers to encourage early ordering. Mark Taffet, who runs HBO Sports' pay-per-view operation, told earlier in the week that the campaign was indeed working and more pay-per-view telecasts were ordered ahead of time than any of the company's previous 187 PPV boxing events.

Fight logos were put on billing statements and sent to customer emails. Verizon even sent out an email Saturday afternoon showing customers how to use the remote to order so as to eliminate call volume.

But as the fight neared, the problems perhaps associated with a system overload persisted. One screen tweeted by a DirecTV customer stated that the fight wasn't available for two weeks.

Despite the issues and despite the $99.95 price being charged by most providers for the HD feed, the fight is expected to blow away the record of 2.48 million pay-per-view buys for the Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya fight in 2007. The question however remains: Will the issues associated with the ordering leave money on the table for HBO, Showtime, the providers and the fighters?

Between the two fighters, they had sold 29.9 million PPV buys and made $1.55 billion in PPV revenue.

Taffet said that Pacquiao's support in the Southwest, West and Pacific Northwest, and Mayweather's support in the Northeast and in the South helped create the perfect PPV storm.