Everything from social media services to media player platforms were used to illegally stream the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match Aug. 26, according to digital platform security firm Irdeto.
Irdeto identified 239 streams in total used to illegally redistribute the fight, drawing nearly more than 2.9 million total viewers. And only 67 of those streams came via traditional pirate streaming web sites, with pirates largely using social media outlets (including Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and Twitch) to stream the fight. The company identified 165 social media streams in total illegally streaming the event.
Irdeto also pinpointed a half-dozen streams that were available using illicit streaming plugins for the controversial media player platform Kodi.
“Live sports are a cornerstone of global piracy, with thousands of sites providing illegal content attracting millions of viewers,” said Rory O’Connor, SVP of cybersecurity services for Irdeto. “When combatting live sports piracy, speed in disrupting piracy is essential. This is especially the case with premium events like this past weekend’s Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing match.
“The most effective strategy is an intelligence-driven approach with a 360-degree view of piracy. By identifying and stopping pirate streams in real-time through specialized knowledge and technology, content owners and operators are able to protect revenue and deliver a greater user experience.”
Leading up to the fight, Irdeto also identified more than 40 ads for illicit streaming devices offering the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight, on Amazon, eBay and Alibaba.
Irdeto’s recent Global Consumer Piracy Survey — which interviews more than 25,000 adults across 30 countries — found that more than half of consumers around the globe knowingly watch pirated video content, and that the high cost of PPV for Mayweather vs. McGregor — combined with the cross-over appeal for boxing and mixed martial arts fans — may have contributed to the large piracy numbers.
“What made this fight unique was that it was the first of its kind to be available to stream live online and it combined two huge viewer audiences: boxing and UFC,” the company said in a statement. “While content availability is key, it may have also inadvertently caused some consumers to choose an illegal service over a legitimate service due to confusion and clever marketing.”