Since the UFC became available on pay-per-view people have been flocking to various websites to find pirated UFC live stream sites. With each event running $44.95, and $55.95 for HD, it is becoming increasingly difficult to purchase UFC events. More and more UFC fans are resorting to these alternative sites in order to watch their favorite UFC fighters. Is Zuffa simply wasting their time and money?
Zuffa LLC., owner of the UFC, has been very active in its battle against piracy. Zuffa has gone as far as lying down subpoenas for Justin.TV and Ustream.tv, popular sites where users can stream their own content; Zuffa has also sued one man who sold UFC streams for $6.99 a piece for $6,000,000. The most recent of this swarm of lawsuits by the UFC is one against Bellator for alleged stealing of “trade secrets”.
Zuffa is wasting its time and money attempting to stop all of these pirated streams. Instead of trying to destroy these illegal streams, why not try to make the service more affordable, therefore increasing the number of sales? The UFC currently offers live stream purchasing from its verified vendors here. The problem is these sites all still cost at least $44.95. Any person Googling “UFC stream” will run into an illegal streaming site before going to the UFC’s site and then paying the full $44.95 for the fight.
These UFC stream sites will never be stopped due to the sheer volume of them, not to mention several are hosted in countries outside of the U.S. The UFC cannot stop the companies outside of the U.S., as they have no jurisdiction, unless they pursued a long, money consuming process that wouldn’t result in any positive outcome.
The NFL, NBA and MLB have all viewed illegal streams as a lost cause. This is part in due to the fact that they make their money from advertising on big networks like CBS, FOX, TNT and more. Even if there is an illegal stream for one of these sports, the viewer still views the commercials. So, what can the UFC do to turn these streams to its advantage? The most obvious solution is to make the purchase of online UFC stream events available at a discounted rate from their authorized vendors. People, including myself, would be much more likely to purchase an event costing $14.99 than $44.95. I am willing to bet they are more than three times as likely.
Through decreasing the price of their streams, and increasing the volume of sales, the total income would probably be greater than that of the current pricing system. The second solution would be much more difficult. The UFC would need to join with a big network, such as CBS or Spike for their big UFC events and bank on advertising money generated from commercials. The problem with this idea is UFC events already last 2-3 hours, and with commercial breaks viewers may not want to stick around for the entire show anymore.
In the end, the UFC is fighting a war against UFC live stream sites it simply cannot win. Zuffa needs to take a new and more practical approach. As long as society continues to become more technologically adept, illegal streams will continue to become easier to find, and harder to shut down.