Live streaming is one of those things that’s wonderful when everything goes as planned, and a real nightmare when issues occur. This is definitely a “don’t try this yourself” item!
Case in point: In August 2017, the boxing world collided with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) for the biggest Pay Per View (PPV) event ever. In case you’re not familiar with the acronym MMA, it’s a full-contact combat sport that allows both striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground, using techniques from other combat sports and martial arts (think of a combination of boxing and Karate).
This event was going to be HUGE – it was the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight. Pre-orders went through the roof. The hype was electric. And best yet, anyone could watch the match even if they weren’t a Showtime subscriber for a one-time fee of $99!
The plan was to live stream the fight. This meant that if you had an internet connection, you could watch the fight from anywhere in the world. The total revenue for the event approached 1 billion dollars…that’s $1,000,000,000. Both fighters would make over $100 million each. Sponsors paid over $25 million for unparalled exposure to millions of fans. Enthusiasts were told they would be witnesses to history in the making. In a nutshell, this spectacle was going to be HUGE! And NOTHING could go wrong with this much at stake.
Well, the night of the fight arrived with a monster reality check: None of the undercard fights (fights before the main event) could be viewed as the live stream was a bust and not working. In fact, the airing of the event was delayed right up to the main event.
But the problems didn’t stop there. When the streaming was finally “fixed”, only grainy standard resolution was broadcast. The result of this was that the organizers are getting sued because fans around the world paid top dollar for this event and received a substandard video of just the last fight. Yes, the organizers were right in that fans were able see history unfold.
This historic event turned out to be a lesson about how NOT to manage a live stream and, according to the judge, not to rush the details. And what about the sponsors who paid over $25 million to have their message aired throughout the event? I wonder how they felt about the lack of exposure?
Let this be a lesson. What if your next event with sponsors, money, and careers at stake took the same turn? Could it have been prevented? The answer is yes – none of this should ever happen by taking the time to address proper planning and the right AV company. Author David McMillin of The Professional Conventions Management Association (PCMA) explores this implosion in his article entitled Frustrated Fan Sues for a Bad Digital Event Experience. Rest assured that no matter the size or scope of your next live streaming event, having the right AV company on your side can be the difference between looking like a champ or being down for the count!