It was May 2, 2015. It was fight night.
Pacquiao-Mayweather. Mayweather-Pacquiao. Fight of the Century. Whatever you wanted to call it, that’s what it was. The horses had raced. The favorite won. The Spurs and Clippers played Game 7. The home team won. Now, finally, we had the fight…until we didn’t.
Just as the focus deserved to turn toward Las Vegas and the hoopla occurring at MGM Grand—where seemingly every A-lister had ventured, spending half my yearly salary to watch the action in-person—the focus actually turned elsewhere, to Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Comcast and any other television juggernaut.
These guys were the real heavyweights in the ring. They were a big reason this fight was billed to bring Pac-attack and the Money Team something north of $100 million EACH. Well, sometime around 9:30 p.m. ET on fight night, someone spilled coffee on a chord or something.
Chris Paul banked in that crazy leaning layup to beat the Spurs and just a few minutes later our group of nine flipped to fight night…except fight night was a black screen with little white text declaring the fight night headliner unavailable. When you pay $100 (collectively, sure) to watch something, that black screen and little white text are both you worst fear and worst enemy. You want them both gone, banished from your big screen, now and forever.
The blackness of this black screen grows in intensity with every passing minute. Every second that goes by means you are another second closer to missing fight night in total. It’s something similar to that at 10:30 pm on your birthday when you notice your best friend hasn’t sent their birthday wishes yet. Whether or not it happens GENUINELY is out of your control, and if you think about it again in a week, well, then you have misplaced concerns. In this moment, though, you wished your friend would remember, and similarly right now—RIGHT NOW—that black screen that once promised fight night needed to once again become fight night.
Just like you believe your best friend will finally wish you happy birthday, you believe the titans of the TV industry will provide you the fight of the century you coincidentally ALREADY PAID FOR. Much like your friend, those entertainment providers had more than an hour to fix calamity.
In the end, they didn’t. (Hopefully your friend did.)
Fight night was the reason I was awake at midnight. It was the reason I was in Astoria, Queens and not the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Fight night was the reason I had consumed six Budweisers, one Blue Moon, a Coors Light, a hamburger, two pieces of pizza, five chicken wings, two handfuls of Doritos and more than enough off-brand chips and salsa. I was all-in on fight night, and here Time Warner freakin’ Cable was dropping the ball. Had I not been surrounded by millennials, fight night would have been ruined.
We’re millenials, though. We know the Internet and how to manipulate the many stems of its many branches.
And since we are millennials—living out our early 20s in the chaotic circus known as New York City—experimenting with people, places and things via trial and error while sharing and caring about the Internet and social media is not just a shared topic, but also a shared pastime.
Just that week, a popular golf reporter had been stripped of her year-long PGA Tour credentials for a second offence of sharing video with her social media following. While that remains a different story for a different time, the root of it affected us on fight night. If fans really cared to see the happenings of the PGA Tour on a ho-hum Monday in San Francisco, well then, perhaps they also cared to see the happenings of fight night in Las Vegas. Where there is demand on the Internet, you will find supply.
It suddenly all made sense. Good ol’ Periscope. That was the trick.
And here came the savior, wrapped in NFC North wit.
As with all things on the Internet, someone is definitely doing it illegally. (Goddamn and god bless those people.) Thanks to Time Warner Cable, it felt like our only option.
When it was over, fight night became yet another reason for us to “cut the cord” and millennial that hellish television entertainment sector straight out our lives. After all, what kind of millennial are you if you actually trust a television company? We’ve grown up with the Internet at our every grasp and have grown more detached from television than ever before. After viewing fight night like you see in the photo above, only one question remained: why hadn’t we millennials thought of this solution sooner?
We could have saved $100.