One week this past Saturday night, the world was captivated by the spectacle that was Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Conor McGregor. It is estimated that around 100 million folks tuned in to see the biggest fight ever on PPV — and a lot of them were live streaming.
Except that many of those who tuned in experienced significant technical issues, both with the in-line broadcast delivery and streaming options. When the numbers are finally tallied it’s expected that the fight garnered 5 million PPV orders from cable/satellite operators, the UFC app, and the Showtime app.
Those are staggering numbers, which is why you can understand that the systems for delivery were strained.
We have been trying to convince you that integrating streaming sports into your programming portfolio is the answer for today and the future. Unfortunately, when issues like this arise, it can add fodder to the notion that it’s not fully baked yet. That assumption, while seemingly supported by the evidence from this fight, is not conclusive.
Let’s consider that prior to Saturday, the largest concurrent live stream in internet history was by eLeagueTV, a professional esports live stream, with 1,027,493 viewers (TwitchStats). That was crushed by the estimated 2.9 million who viewed the fight on various live streams.
While ultra-inconvenient, it’s not terribly surprising that the infrastructure struggled. The UFC works with Neulion, one of the largest content delivery networks (CDN) in the world. They also provide streaming for the NFL among others. While not perfect, don’t believe the hype that sports live streams aren’t excellent. Streaming remains an amazing option for accessing content, both mainstream and obscure. With so many options for displaying streams, price is no longer a consideration. Whether you access via a linked structure like Chromecast or dedicate a streaming device like Roku, the options are myriad for content.
Live streaming is the future of sports bars
The future for sports bars will be a more ala carte than your favorite steakhouse. For example, if you are the Pittsburgh Steelers bar in your market, you will be able to specify their games exclusively and have no need to access the full NFL Sunday Ticket suite. That day isn’t really too far off, as the NFL Sunday Ticket can now be accessed apart from a DIRECTV subscription via streaming.
Even if you we are a broken record, NOW is the time to integrate a device for streaming events to your TVs. Whether you buy an inexpensive laptop or an AppleTV (or other like streaming device), the content is finally catching up with the technology.
As the dominance of inline delivery networks like cable and satellite recedes, these stream-only options will become more obvious. A great example is that the WWE PPV’s are no longer carried by DIRECTV. You can, however, still access them via the WWE streaming package. If you are missing that content then picking up a streaming device can put it back in play at your sports-themed restaurant or sports bar. There really is no need for caution on accepting this technology.