Tuesday 19 December 2017 / 03:49 AM

HOW LIVE STREAMERS ARE HURTING BOXING

Last Friday, Australian boxing fans were treated to a second fight between Danny Green and Anthony Mundine. The last time these two met, back in 2006, Mundine won via unanimous points decision. The fight was one of the most anticipated bouts in Australian boxing for a very long time and drew record figures.

Fast forward 11 years and these two supremely gifted athletes decided to go around one more time. Both boxers were over 40 years old each and had barely fought in two years. Mundine’s last encounter was a loss to Charles Hatley in November 2015, a year since his previous bout. Green had beaten Kane Watts in August 2016, and a year prior to that he had his first fight in nearly three years.

While both men were clearly not the fighters they once were and were lacking in ring fitness, they could still talk a good fight. Much of the lead-up surrounded Anthony Mundine’s criticism of the Australian National Anthem.

Aside from this, they still attracted a good audience for the fight, as well as in Pay Per View sales through Foxtel.

Much criticism had been levelled at Foxtel for charging $59.95 for the event, given the headline act was two old men who had barely been in the ring for three years, with the event seemingly made more farcical by one of the feature undercard bouts, which pitted Australian rugby union player Quade Cooper against out-of-shape part-time fighter in Jack McInnes.

Amongst all this was Darren Sharpe. He has become infamous in the days following the fight for his deeds, which were celebrated by vast numbers of the public. Sharpe bought the fight pay per view from Foxtel, and then once the event began, proceeded to live stream it, by using his mobile phone to record the video live as the event took place, to his Facebook profile.

Sharpe’s mischievous act attracted thousands of viewers, who all got to watch the exclusive pay per view event for free. He was applauded for his generosity and for essentially issuing Foxtel with a big middle finger.

And while the Aussie battlers of the world think this was a great thing, in reality it was anything but. The boxing industry, from its fighters, venues and promoters to ring announcers, medics and so on rely on big events like this to help improve the sport in this country. The more big events, the more exposure the sport gets. which leads to more fighters and more competition.

That has a kick-on effect, creating better fighters and a vastly improved product than what we currently have.

To the people who complained that it was too expensive, hence why they chose to watch it for free: your actions have justified the price. Foxtel set that price aware that people wanted to watch. The fact you chose to watch it illegally means they were right. So you didn’t teach Foxtel any lessons. If anything, Foxtel will try and combat your criminal actions by having to charge a higher price for future PPV’s

To the people who complained that it was ridiculous having two old blokes as the main event: if you had have paid to watch the event, your money would’ve been able to help rectify that problem. Every time a PPV sells well, it’s not just the network that benefits, but the industry as well. So if you watch it illegally for free, you’re causing the problem you complained about as opposed to trying to fix it.

This action may have been seen as some sort of Aussie battler, Robin Hood sports story. In actual fact it was theft. Which is illegal.

Foxtel is allegedly considering taking legal action. I’m not certain they will. Mr Sharpe though is. Talk of a law case has seen Mr Sharpe consider the intelligence of his actions, setting up an account to help fund his potential court case and hoping to get donations from the public.

A court case that sees Foxtel win could end up costing Mr Sharpe a lot of money. In fact, he’d probably need around $59.95 from everyone who watched it for free.

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About the author

Andrew Ferguson

A rugby league historian and stats buff – most notably as the brains behind the phenomenal Rugby League Project resource – Melbourne-based Andrew has written extensively for Rugby League Review and the Men of League magazine, and is a valued addition to CBS’s rugby league stable.

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