A lot of people will want to watch Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao box each other this Saturday, but not a lot of people will want to plunk down a record-setting chunk of pay-per-view money to do so. These people will probably go to a local sports bar to watch the fight, and if they are good bar patrons, they will buy more than a few drinks, because showing a fight like this doesn’t come cheap for bar owners.
A sports bar can’t just pay the $89.95 pay-per-view fee, open the doors to a few hundred eager boxing fans, and then reap profits. That’s because bars have to purchase a special license from a company called J&J Productions, which handles selling the rights to the fight to commercial venues. And what do those licenses run? We put in a call to J&J and pretended to be a bar owner looking to buy the fight, and this is the quote we got:
“Prices are determined according to the fire code’s limit for the business. if it holds 200 people, this event will be $6,500. for 500 people it will be $15,500. We have a program that gives us a price when we put the fire code limit into it.”
That’s a lot of money, man. If a 200-capacity bar buys this fight, it would need to pack the house and then have each patron spend at least $32 in order to break even (and that’s setting aside the bar’s usual expenses).
Of course, bars could try to get around this and just pay the standard pay-per-view price, but J&J Productions takes this shit very seriously, and will sue the crap out of anyone who tries to pull a fast one on them. They even hire armies of undercover spies to try and bust bars that don’t pay the fee (via The Guardian):
People contracted by Audit Masters get a list of bars legally showing a PPV. During the four-hour telecast, PPV cops travel around to locations that are showing the fight but not on their list.
“We do not tell you where to go,” Audit Masters says on its website. “That is up to you, we leave that up to your local expertise as to where you feel the most productive areas for piracy would be. We do ask that you average at least five stops per hour during the hours of the telecast.”
PPV cops are paid by the number of illegal locations they are able to find. The ad posted by Edlund offers $250 per location found.
So if you’re going to watch the fight at a bar on Saturday, be a good customer. Don’t complain if you have to pay a cover, and definitely don’t enlist as a pay-per-view snitch.