Dana White, president of the UFC, came out and stated that his company is going after those that host illegal streams of the companies pay per view events. They have even suggested that they will go after the individuals that are using these illegal feeds. The need for an illegal feed does not make sense and watching a pay per view is a right, not a privilege.
The UFC is a business and the product they sell are fights via pay per view broadcasts. Pay per view is not new to combat sports as boxing has been selling their fights since the first major pay per view fight in 1981 when “Sugar” Ray Leonard fought Thomas “Hitman” Hearns. The UFC has re-invigorated the pay per view market since the decline of boxing. They currently hold approximately 12 pay per view events a year at a cost of $44.95 and had $349 million in revenue last year from the pay per views alone.
Many argue that they make enough money and they should not worry about a small number of people stealing the stream via the internet. They have an anti-pirating team that found 271 illegal streams of UFC 106 with over 140,000 viewers. That is a maximum of $6,293,000 in lost revenues for just one event. How small does that number look now that it is converted into a dollar amount? Keep in mind that these are the feeds the UFC found and I am sure there were more that went unnoticed.
I know that the above figures are based on each person purchasing the event while in reality this hardly ever happens. All across the country MMA fans gather in bars and in homes to tune into these events.
The argument has been made that not everyone can afford to pay for each and every event they have and thus people watch for free online. This argument is nonsense because many people have friends come over to help cover the cost of purchasing the fights. I agree that not everyone can dish out an additional $600 a year for fights but how many can pitch in $5 to see the fights? Gathering with fans of the sport to watch the event is something I do while at the same time bringing people over that may be new to the sport. Basically I am purchasing their product with the help of friends and at the same time promoting the sport by introducing it to those that would never spend the money by themselves to see what all the commotion is about for this fast rising sport.
One would still be able to watch the UFC and learn about MMA even if they never bought a pay per view. There are Fight Nights which are free on Spike TV as well as events that would typically be pay per views but due to the fights being overseas they are given to us for free. Dana and the UFC are not just forcing us to buy these events. They give us a fair number of free events mixed in with the pay cards and thus are already giving away some of their product. How many companies actually give away products for free these days? They have a reason to be angry that people are stealing the events and going after those that are responsible is just a smart business move.
Personally, I get angry that people view these illegal streams. I am sitting here spending my hard earned money on the same thing they feel they have a right to see for free. Pay per views are not a right, they are a privilege. If they really must watch the event on the computer then they can go to UFC.com or to Yahoo and purchase the event through those sites. I feel the need to state here that I feel the online broadcasts should be sold at a reduced rate. I think it is the fair thing to do and many more would be willing to purchase these events rather than steal if that was the case.
I am unsure as to how anyone could argue that it is wrong of the UFC to go after the people that facilitate these streams as well as those that use them. They get approximately 70% of their annual revenue from these events. Is it a futile effort? Yes, they will never stop all the people as there will always be criminals that want to steal just for the sake of stealing. However I think as a business this is a fight they must take up. After all, how many business owners would just stand by and watch people stealing from them without taking action to prevent it?
The argument that the events are not affordable for everyone was shattered when I discussed sharing the cost with friends. Never once did I mention that their are bars that actually pay a fee to show these events. Around the U.S. Hooters shows these events to their patrons as do many other bars. Share the event with friends, head to a bar and support a local business while watching the fights but don’t steal. It makes no sense at all and is a criminal act.
I support Dana White and the UFC in this fight just as I would support any business owner’s right to try and protect their product from theft. Buy the pay per views and stop being a low life.
Original piece by Fighters.com
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