Fight Fans Pummel Showtime on Mayweather-McGregor Broadcast

(CN) – In state and federal court, Showtime faces bicoastal class actions from fight fans who say say their $99 broadcast of the Mayweather-McGregor fight was shakier than the unlucky Irishman on Saturday.

Pitting the undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather against the charismatic ultimate fighter Conor McGregor, the weekend showdown was estimated in advance to make more than $1 billion, breaking previous records for pay-per-view fights.

Mayweather held on to his title, but one federal class action in Portland, Oregon, against Showtime Networks says the viewing experience was ruined by “grainy video, error screens, buffer events, and stalls.”

Zack Bartel, the lead plaintiff in that case, estimates the Oregon class alone to consist of thousands of jilted viewers, “based on the historic nature of the fight and the record-breaking demand to watch it.”

In addition to the Bartel case, Showtime faces a class action in Los Angeles County Superior Court from Dean and Keefe Ferrandini. A New Yorker named Victor Mallh filed a federal class action as well, in the state’s Southern District. A fourth class action was filed Tuesday, in Las Vegas Federal Court.

The Ferrandinis note that the process of logging on to stream the broadcast took hours, and the title match “was well underway” by the time the application finally started to work.

“Instead of enjoying the match they had paid for, Plaintiffs spent the majority of the evening frustrated and on the phone trying to get through to customer service,” the complaint states.

Mallh’s complaint in New York notes that hundreds of viewers were inundating  Showtime’s support account on Twitter with refund inquiries when the network “issued a sanitized and misleading announcement.”

“Due to high demand, we have reports of scattered outages from various cable and satellite provides and the online offering,” Showtime Sports said in a statement. “We will delay the start of the main event slightly to allow for systems to get on track. We do not expect a lengthy delay.”

Representatives for Showtime have not responded to a request for comment. The network is a subsidiary of CBS Corporation.

Represented by Orin Kurtz of Grady & Notis, Mallh seeks treble damages for breach of contract, fraud and other claims. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Denise Cote.

Hrag Kouyoumijan of Seven Hill Law represents the class in Los Angeles, and Michael Fuller of Olsen Daines represents the Portland class.

All three class actions report that, as of their Monday filing, none of the plaintiffs had received refunds from Showtime.

Media reports indicate that Showtime is directing upset customers to their internet/cable providers first, but will handle complaints from anyone who bought the fight through and the ShowtimePPV app.

According to content-security vendor Irdeto, Saturday’s fight reportedly yielded 239 illegal live-streamed rebroadcasts online, reaching more than 2.9 million viewers worldwide.

With 532 movie theaters around the country showing the fight as well, it even made into this weekend’s box office Top 10.

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