Many folks will be tuning in and purchasing their chance to watch Floyd Mayweather Jr. take on Manny Pacquiao tonight, even though the event is going to cost around $100 on PPV. Those who don’t want to pay the huge price might try their hand at going to a local bar or venue to watch with other folks. This might seem like common sense, but it isn’t as cheap as it might seem. At least not for the bar owners.
There’s a good reason why you have to pay a cover or some places will even require you purchase food and beverage in conjunction with large events like Mayweather/Pacquiao: It’s damn expensive. A bar can’t just pay the same price you would for a PPV simulcast at home and if they do, it might just cost them thanks a group of secret PPV cops according to the Guardian:
A bar cannot just order the $100 pay-per-view and show it on its televisions; it needs a licence to show the fight in public. G&G Boxing — the company selling the rights to show Saturday’s fight — reports the cost of the event “is determined by the occupancy of your establishment among other factors”. ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported the cost for this bout is $25 multiplied by the fire code occupancy of the location.
It varies. Bar owners and managers report numbers around that. A bar manager in Wilmington, Delaware, says his place was quoted $5,000 for a 257-seat occupancy (about $20 a head). Cardrooms in California have been quoted as high as $50 a head. A Buffalo Wild Wings in Henderson, Nevada, was quoted $4,500 to show the fight.
You have to sell a lot of food and beer to cover such a high cost.
Deadspin posed as a bar seeking a license to show the fight and confirmed the fire code multiplier, reaching heights of $ 15 grand for 500 person capacity bar. And that certainly doesn’t mean the bar will even sniff 500 patrons for the event, so the chances of making a profit go down heavily.
Worse yet, the group of “PPV police” that ensure a bar isn’t pirating or exhibiting an event without a license work without notice. They can go where they please and even have a Spanish line to call and report any issues that pop up according to The Guardian, leading to some hefty civil troubles if caught:
G&G says it attempts to combat piracy – threatening those showing the fight without paying the licensing fee – with “civil liability for actual and statutory damages in excess of $100,000, injunctive relief, legal costs and attorneys’ fees, as well as other severe criminal and civil penalties as provided for by federal copyright and state and federal telecommunications laws”.
This all seems pretty fair on paper, but it comes off as a real hassle when you get down to the brass tacks. Not to mention everything else swirling around this event in relation to the fighters. It would almost seem like a better bet to just read the live updates on ESPN or wait for someone to announce the winner on Twitter at this point.