Floyd Mayweather Jr. fighting Juan Manuel Márquez (Ian Mcwilliams/CC)
Bars planning to show the much-hyped August boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor should be warned: the company that handles pay-per-view distribution for major fights won’t hesitate to sue establishments that show big bouts without a license.
A group of about 20 small bars and restaurants in New York City and on Long Island are learning this the hard way.
On Thursday and Friday, California-based J&J Sports Productions sued the businesses, alleging violations of the Communications Act of 1934 for showing 2014 and 2015 fights featuring Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
Paul Hooten of Paul Hooten & Associates filed the suits on behalf of J&J in the Eastern and Southern districts. He did not respond to requests for comment.
Matthew Pare of the Law Office of Matthew Pare in Chula Vista, California, who specializes in defending TV signal piracy cases, said J&J has filed thousands of these types of suits across the country over the last decade.
Licenses for showing pay-per-view fights can cost more than $2,000 for small establishments, but can cost even more for marquee events such as Mayweather fights.
According to an October 2016 report in the ABA Journal, private attorneys for distributors deploy armies of private investigators who barhop to document pay-per-view theft.
Pare said it is rare for defendants to win the suits, and said they are further disadvantaged by the fact that plaintiffs can claim strict liability damages and seek attorney fees.