It's no secret that watching football is quite popular with the pirates. Seeing as how lots of games are locked behind paid-or services like Sky Sports or BT (if they're even available to watch in this country), football fans have opted for the illegal streams to get their fix. The Champions League was no different, with a new report claiming nearly five million people tuned into the tournament's knock-out stages using unofficial streams.
This news comes from cybersecurity firm Irdeto, who claim to have 5,100 unique illegal stream during the knockout stages of the Champions League, including 2,903 streams on social sites like Facebook and twitch. Over all the company claims those streams ended up reaching 4,893,902 viewers.
Apparently the most illegally streamed team was Roma, with 1,476 streams illegally redistributing their matched. The Roma v Liverpool semi-final was the most-streamed match, with 406 unique streams beaming the game out to fans over the world. In second place was Real Madrid with 1,354 streams, followed by Liverpool (1,252), and Bayern Munich (977). The most illegally viewed match was Real Madrid v Bayern Munish, netting 709,393 viewers.
Irdeto estimates that all this results in a loss of around €14 million (£12.28 million) a month for sports broadcasters, assuming, of course, that all of the people who tuned in would have been willing to pay for it had the streams not existed. It claims that these figures show that not enough is being done to tackle illegal streams of football games, though the Premier League and UEFA have already explored a lot of different options - even going so far as to gain court orders to kill streams in real time.
Irdeto doesn't break down the streams by nationality, but it's worth pointing out that BT has been streaming various Champions League (and Europa League) games without charging, so for people in this country there often wasn't any need to watch rubbish illegal streams. It's doing the same for this weekend's Champions League Final, featuring Liverpool and Real Madrid, which will also be available on YouTube.