Millions of fans across the world tuned in to watch Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Conor McGregor in the fight to end all fights – and not all of them were doing it legally.
Digital security platform Irdeto reckons around 2.9 million people watched the fight on an illegal stream, with some 239 thought to be in operation over the course of the clash.
“This is one of the most pirated, if not the most pirated boxing matches we have ever seen,” Mark Mulready, Irdeto vice president of cyber services, said in a statement.
The figures certainly back up this claim, with just 200,000 viewers tuning in to one of 19 pirated streams when Anthony Joshua defeated Wladimir Klitschko in a world heavyweight title fight by comparison.
Facebook, Twitch, Periscope, Reddit and YouTube all played host to these illegal streams on the night, as fight fans looked to avoid the costs associated with Sky’s Box Office coverage of the bouts.
But there could yet be a sting in the tail for those that took these extreme steps to avoid forking out for the fight.
According to Torrent Freak, a watermark seen on the screen during the fight but not visible during the whole 10-round bout may have actually bee placed intentionaly into the stream by the legal broadcasters in an attempt to track down anyone pirating the coverage illegally.
Torrent Freak wrote:
“Since no digits appeared over the top of the fight itself, it might suggest that they were put there by a broadcaster, in this instance Sky Box Office, who were licensed to show the fight in the UK.
“If that was indeed the case, it’s certainly possible that the sequence of numbers would allow Sky to track the illicit stream back to a subscriber and/or a set-top box tied to a particular account.
“Since that subscriber has then re-streamed that content back online illegally, the code would act as a homing beacon and could spell bad news for the individual involved.”
Anyone caught under the elaborate scheme could face being kicked off the network by their internet provider, or even a fine.
The risks of streaming sport illegally online have already been outlined by loaded – check out the full rundown of risks associated with it here – there are quite a few!
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.