The UFC is suing a bar in New York for illegally broadcasting one its events. UFC 229 was probably one of the most high-profile MMA events in recent years with the return of Conor McGregor to face lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. An event that draws in casual and new fans is a good draw for the mixed martial arts promotion as well as any commercial establishment presenting it the right way.
UFC 229 took place before pay-per-views were strictly available on ESPN + (if you want to sign up, you do so here), and drew in 2.4 million buys. The suit filed against the Bryn Mawr Tavern II alleges that the business purchased a license for residential use, and illegally broadcast it for commercial gain according to Trademarks and Brands Online (TBO). The difference between ordering a pay-per-view, pre ESPN+ I that residential uses are intended for homes versus using it to draw in patron to spend money in an establishment like a bar.
Bars that do show them purchase the rights to do so through Joe Hand Promotions, a distributor that the UFC sold the rights to broadcast the events in a commercial establishment. The report from TBO says there are a lot of ways to use a residential signal in a commercial establishment that include; “splicing an additional coaxial cable line or redirecting a wireless signal from an adjacent residence into a business establishment ; commercially misusing cable or satellite by registering same as a residence when it is, in fact, a business; or taking a lawfully obtained box or satellite receiver from a private residence, into a business,” according to the suit.
“UFC is seeking damages for willful infringement of its copyright, as well as attorneys’ fees” –via TBO
The UFC has been active in going after anyone that views these events outside of the proper channels, which includes any unlicensed broadcasting of events in bars. Outside of the huge franchise bars like Buffalo Wild Wings it would seem choices are limited to them or signing up for ESPN+.