A disgruntled fight fan filed a lawsuit against Showtime Networks, alleging the programmer’s live-stream of the much-hyped boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor was not delivered in HD quality as promised.
The suit filed by Zack Bartel, a resident of Portland, Ore., against Showtime seeks the greater amount of either $200 in statutory damages or recovery of “actual damages.” The complaint seeks class-action status on behalf of other Oregon residents, and noted that Bartel and others are entitled to punitive damages.
A Showtime rep declined to comment, citing its policy of not commenting on ongoing litigation.
“Instead of being a ‘witness to history’ as defendant had promised, the only thing plaintiff witnessed was grainy video, error screens, buffer events, and stalls,” according to Bartel’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Portland on Saturday, Aug. 26.
Bartel, according to the complaint, paid $99.99 to watch the event in HD on Apple TV via Showtime’s pay-per-view app. Per the lawsuit, while the Showtime PPV stream was delivered in poor quality and plagued with error messages, Bartel was able to access YouTube and Netflix “in crystal-clear HD, as usual.” He even tested his Comcast Xfinity broadband connection to make sure the issues weren’t being caused by a bad connection, according to the suit.
“In hopes of maximizing profits, [Showtime] rushed its pay-per-view streaming service to market, without securing enough networking bandwidth to support the number of subscribers who paid to watch the fight,” Bartel alleged in the lawsuit.
The Aug. 26 Mayweather-McGregor fight was the first major boxing match available to order on pay-per-view online — without requiring a pay-TV subscription.
A Showtime rep said that it would issue a full refund to any customers who paid for the PPV event through its direct-to-consumer services, if Showtime is able to confirm they were unable to watch the live stream.