For those hoping to avoid the record high pay-per-view fees of $89 for standard definition or $99 for high-definition for a free and live online stream of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio’s mega-bout Saturday night, think again.
Co-broadcasters and cable giants HBO and Showtime filed a lawsuit in California federal courts earlier this week to shut down illegal streams ahead of the highly anticipated boxing match taking place at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
The suit was filed against the owners of boxinghd.net and sportship.org, which were previously advertising feeds for the bout on their respective homepages but have since removed the links, according to Deadline.com.
HBO and Showtime were seeking a restraining order to prevent the feeds from going back up, and Judge George Wu granted their request, Deadline updated on Thursday. The temporary order took effect at 4 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday and lasts until 12 p.m. PT May 7.
“BOXINGHD.net and SPORTSHIP.org are promoting unauthorized free streams of our intellectual property,” the networks said in a joint statement according Time. “As content creators and distributors, we believe that combatting piracy and stopping content theft is crucial to maintain our ability to provide our customers with world-class programming like the Mayweather-Pacquaio fight.”
The networks were also seeking damages, attorney fees and any profit the websites stood to make. The early move to shut down potential illegal feeds figures to curtail any other sites’ attempts to profit off what’s expected to be the highest grossing fight in boxing’s long history.
In an unprecedented move, HBO and Showtime agreed to co-broadcast a bout that’s been in the works for more than five years, and clearly both are looking to maximize their investments.
The contest is expected to shatter the very PPV buy record Mayweather set in his victory over Oscar De La Hoya back in 2007, and Forbes reports both Pacquiao and Mayweather are the most bankable stars in the sport today. Mayweather’s 13 PPV events have earned $873 million, and Pacquaio’s $741 million over 20 bouts.
Saturday’s event is predicted to draw three million PPV buys worth an estimated $300 million, according to Forbes, which would well exceed the 2.48 million buys for Mayweather vs. De La Hoya.