Sports-bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings will only screen the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight at a few of its locations, and there will be a $20 cover. But B-Dubs is a sports bar, and this is The Fight of the Century. What’s the problem? The price for Buffalo Wild Wings to screen Saturday’s fight at just one of its locations is approximately $5,100, reports Bloomberg. It would have cost a total of $6 million to air the fight at all 1,080 B-Dubs locations across the U.S.
The owner of NYC sports bar The 13th Step is choosing not to screen the fight for the same reason—he needs to protect his margins. He told First We Feast,“It’s prohibitively expensive. It doesn’t make any sense to show the fight. It’s not a good business decision.” He continues, “It’s a boxing match, so it can go for three minutes if someone gets out in the first round.”
The 13th Step bar in NYC will not be screening the fight. (Photo: Complex Pop Culture)
Although they didn’t give him a direct quote, The 13th Step owner says, “They quoted my other location $5,700 to screen the fight—and that location is half the capacity of this one. So it would probably cost us about $10,000 to show it here.” You have to sell a whole lot of beer and wings to cover the $10k cost of airing the fight.
He explains that they price it by your fire code occupancy; therefore, the bigger the bar or restaurants, the more expensive it is to show Saturday’s championship. According to The Guardian, a bar manager in Wilmington, Delaware says his place was quoted $5,000 for a 257-seat occupancy (about $20 a head). Cardrooms in California have been quoted as high as $50 a head.
Who are these people charging absurd prices for bar owners to screen the fight, exactly? The Guardian refers to them as the “Pay Per-View Cops.” And although they aren’t actual cops, they sure do act like the po po. “The PPV cops will attempt to find bars showing the fight without having paid licensing fees,” reports The Guardian. “If they help promoters nail establishments that have not paid, the companies say they can make hundreds or even thousands of dollars.”
PPV cops are paid by the number of illegal locations they are able to find, which gives them a whole lot of incentive to bust bars screening the fight without paying the fee. One Lake Elsinore, CA bar shut down after paying a $23,000 fine for illegally showing a previous Mayweather fight.