ESPN+ pay-per-view outage leaves MMA fans and fighters alike in the dark:
At the stroke of 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, UFC 257’s main card began with the traditional anti-piracy warning that precedes the UFC vanity plate and the broadcast open for a pay-per-view main card.
There was only one problem on Saturday night:
No one who paid the requisite $70 to buy the UFC 257 pay-per-view main card on ESPN+ over the weekend was able to see the event on their computers, tablets, phones, or connected devices.
ESPN+’s servers had become so overwhelmed to the point where the official pay-per-view streams for UFC 257 had been rendered inoperable across the board.
UFC 257 on ESPN+ was the first UFC pay-per-view to occur under the new price hike for flagship events streaming on the platform.
Prior to Saturday night’s card, UFC pay-per-view events cost $65, itself a price hike from the original value of such cards streaming on ESPN+ in 2019.
Due to this outage, every viewer who bought UFC 257 on ESPN+ missed the first two fights of the main card, both of which ended in knockouts.
Frustration reigns supreme:
Given the magnitude of the situation and the cost of the pay-per-view on Saturday, the feelings of frustration were understandable.
Viewers alike, including UFC fighters, both current and former, along with Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt, took to Twitter, with Watt going as far as requesting a refund.
A fix is pushed:
Just prior to the Jessica Eye vs. Joanne Calderwood fight in the Women’s Flyweight ranks, ESPN+ pushed a fix, restoring the rest of the UFC 257 main card to those who subscribed to pay-per-view.
The Athletic’s Richard Deitch put out a tweet regarding the pay-per-view outage:
Regarding the ESPN+ issues tonight for UFC 257. I emailed ESPN PR. Here is what I just got back.
"We are aware of an issue impacting some fans’ ability to access to tonight’s PPV event and are working to resolve it as quickly as possible."
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) January 24, 2021
In response to the fix being pushed, JJ Watt took back his demands for a refund.
Just after 12 midnight ET on Sunday morning, the official ESPN+ tech support Twitter page officially announced that the fix was pushed, directing any further questions to the ESPN+ tech support Website:
Subsequent to that, there were no major issues reported for the rest of the night.
Part of the following is taken from Saturday night’s UFC 257 review:
Although UFC 257’s official live streams were eventually restored, you can’t deny the fact that ESPN+ very nearly flirted with disaster on Saturday night.
A UFC pay-per-view is always an anticipated event for fans of the sport—but fans throughout the country were left in the dark for more than an hour.
It goes without saying that ESPN+ dodged a big bullet here.
MMA fans all over America were most grateful that the stream came back when it did.
It remains to be seen whether or not ESPN+ will offer any sort of refund in response to Saturday night’s pay-per-view outage.
Who’s to say that ESPN+ doesn’t offer a refund, given the fact that the advertised co-main and main events were shown without incident, save for rogue outages that were still going on after the main problem was fixed?
Yet, given the nightmarish backlash ESPN+ had to endure over the weekend, the odds of pay-per-view subscribers getting a refund to the tune of $70 could be in their favor.
Only time will tell, however, if that proves to be the case.