The much-hyped megafight between Floyd Mayweather and Irishman Conor McGregor may be over, but it has sparked a fierce battle outside the ring over piracy.
According to data collected by cybersecurity firm Irdeto, a total of 239 illegal streams were found to have redistributed the boxing match this past weekend, reaching nearly three million viewers.
Of the 239 illegal streams, 67 were on traditional pirate streaming websites, 165 were found on social media platforms including Facebook and Youtube, said Irdeto in a news release on Monday (Aug 28). Six were initiated via illicit streaming plugins for the popular media player platform Kodi.
The bout, which was won by Mayweather by way of technical knockout in the 10th round, was highly anticipated as it was not only the undefeated American boxer’s last fight, he was up against mixed martial arts champion McGregor.
Many fans had gone online in the search for illegal live streams
“With both boxing and UFC fans eager to see this matchup, pirates capitalised on consumer demand to provide multiple illegal viewing options for this premier live sports event and reap the profit for themselves,” Irdeto said.
Based on the pay-per-view price in the US, the total loss due to piracy stands at around US$300 million, according to Irdeto.
PIRATES HAVE BECOME MORE BUSINESS SAVVY
Those offering illegal streaming have become more business savvy, noted Irdeto.
In the week leading up to the bout, the firm identified 42 advertisements for illicit streaming devices offering Mayweather vs McGregor on e-commerce websites, including Amazon, eBay and Alibaba.
“This clearly points to how business savvy pirates have become, creating a formidable foe for legitimate service providers,” Irdeto said.
The fight has been described by The Independent as the most pirated event in history and it has already triggered legal action by the rights owner Showtime Networks.
Even before the fight started in August, Showtime filed a suit to stop more than 40 websites from airing unauthorised streams of the bout.