31 August 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

MayMac attracted nearly three million infringing viewers

Floyd Mayweather’s bout with Conor McGregor was illegally viewed by nearly three million people, according to new data from digital security company Irdeto.

Irdeto identified 239 streams that were illegally redistributing the fight in Las Vegas, 67 of which were provided through traditional pirate streaming websites.

McGregor, two-time UFC champion, faced the undefeated boxer on 26 August in a fight that garnered huge attention around the world. The pair reportedly earned millions from the bout.

Prices to watch fight in the US were high, with operators charging as much as $99.95. Many legitimate streams went down before and during the fight, unable to deal with the amount of traffic.

Irdeto found that infringers used multiple platforms to access infringing streams, including Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and Twitch.

Infringing streams were so prolific, despite takedown efforts, that they appeared at the top of YouTube search results with a simple search. Irdeto also found six streams available through Kodi IPTV boxes.

Irdeto said pirates are beginning to function more like “full-fledged businesses”.

“Criminals are doing market research and are aware that consumers are craving this type of live sports content.”

“In just one day in the week leading up to the bout, Irdeto identified 42 advertisements for illicit streaming devices offering Mayweather v McGregor on ecommerce websites, including Amazon, eBay and Alibaba.”

It added: “This clearly points to how business savvy pirates have become, creating a formidable foe for legitimate service providers. Irdeto works on an ongoing basis with sites like Alibaba to remove advertisements of this nature.”

Rory O’Connor, senior vice president of cyber security services at Irdeto, said: ““Live sports are a cornerstone of global piracy, with thousands of sites providing illegal content attracting millions of viewers.”

“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 v McGregor boxing match.

He continued: “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 specialised knowledge and technology, content owners and operators are able to protect revenue and deliver a greater user experience.”

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