Floyd Mayweather Jr. may have won the most anticipated boxing match in years on Saturday night. But the real champion, according to some, was a mobile app.
For those that weren’t among the throng of celebrities at the MGM Grand, the only way to legally watch Saturday’s fight was to pay $100 for access to a pay-per-view stream on Showtime or fork over an entry fee to a bar that was showing the action.
However, the Twitter-owned Periscope live-streaming app offered an alternate way to follow the fight.
— Brendan Pittman (@brendanpittman) May 3, 2015
Oh. You can watch the fight for free on Periscope. F. T. W. pic.twitter.com/U8GutF51ID
— Jonathan Louis May (@jmay11) May 3, 2015
Periscope = a questionably legal way to watch the fight. pic.twitter.com/K8IzYNvzp1
— Katie Chrystler (@kchrystler) May 3, 2015
Sure, the sound and video quality from Periscope streams weren’t comparable to the PPV feed. But for those that simply wanted to see what happened in real-time — and not pay $100 — watching a Periscope feed from someone else’s living room was perfectly adequate.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted this afterward:
Silicon Valley-based investor Chris Sacca thought the same:
Periscope won by a knockout.
— Chris Sacca (@sacca) May 3, 2015
Saturday night very well could have been Periscope’s “big moment.” It’s unclear how cable companies and sports leagues with lucrative, exclusive TV broadcast contracts — and Twitter, for that matter — will handle those who live-stream the action either from inside a stadium or in front of their living room television. This is an issue not restricted to the sports world, either.
However, leagues and cable giants are certainly aware of what’s going on. The NBA, MLB, and NFL all told GeekWire last month that their existing policies restrict both reporters and fans from live-streaming game action. How they and the cable companies choose to police apps like Periscope and Meerkat remains to be seen.