×

Mayweather-McGregor Fight: Pirated Live Streams Reached 2.9 Million Viewers

Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s TKO of Conor McGregor on Saturday — in what has been expected to be the biggest pay-per-view boxing event ever — drew a massive global audience on piracy networks.

The Aug. 26 match from Las Vegas yielded 239 illegal live-streamed rebroadcasts online, reaching an estimated 2.93 million viewers worldwide, according to content-security vendor Irdeto. Of those, 67 were hosted on well-known piracy streaming websites. Pirates also used services including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter’s Periscope, Amazon-owned Twitch and media-player platform Kodi to illegally redistribute the highly anticipated event, according to Irdeto.

It’s not clear how big an impact the piracy of the Mayweather-McGregor fight had on PPV purchases through Showtime Networks, which charged $99.95 to access the live event. Not everyone who accessed the illegal streams, after all, would have paid to watch the legal broadcast even if the pirated versions weren’t available. The event has been projected to gross upwards of $1 billion in PPV revenue, which would shatter previous records.

Official pay-per-view results have yet to be released; Fathom Events’ theatrical distribution of the fight garnered $2.6 million from 534 theaters.

In addition to the live-streaming piracy, an estimated 445,000 internet users downloaded video of the fight after it concluded Saturday, including 78,000 in the U.S. and 49,000 in the U.K. and Ireland, according to piracy-tracking firm Tecxipio.

Some fight fans may have turned to piracy after the official live stream of the fight suffered technical issues Saturday, which delayed the start time of the Mayweather-McGregor main event. Customers who had paid for the fight through UFC’s Fight Pass were directed to Showtime’s website; on Twitter, angry users posted info indicating that UFC told them it would not issue refunds.

Showtime and UFC had been policing illegal streams in the days leading up to the fight, and as part of those efforts submitted requests to Google to remove multiple URLs from piracy sites advertising access to the Mayweather-McGregor live-stream. Nevertheless, on a single day last week, Irdeto identified 42 ads for illicit streaming devices claiming to offer Mayweather vs. McGregor that ran on e-commerce websites including Amazon, eBay and Alibaba.

“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 Irdeto’s cybersecurity services. “When combating live sports piracy, speed in disrupting piracy is essential.”

For the record, Mayweather defeated McGregor in the bout — touted as the biggest boxing event of the year — in a TKO decision in the 10th round. Mayweather’s career record now stands at 50-0.

Pictured above: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (left) in action against Conor McGregor during their fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Aug. 26.

More Digital

  • Gary Levine and Jana Winograde Showtime

    Showtime, HBO Broaden Scope as Parent Companies Aim to Grow Their Audiences

    For years, the halo around premium cablers such as HBO and Showtime has been integral to their branding. Their parent companies in a past life — Time Warner and CBS, respectively — seemed to be content with the tens of millions of subscribers each had accumulated. But now, shepherded by new corporate owners — AT&T’s [...]

  • Josh Simon - Netflix

    Netflix Hires Nike Exec Josh Simon as VP of Consumer Products

    Netflix’s burgeoning consumer products group has a new boss: Josh Simon, who is leaving Nike to join the streaming giant. Simon, who’s also a Disney and Color Force alum, has been named VP of consumer products for Netflix. Based in L.A., he will start at the company the week of March 2 to oversee the [...]

  • Bob Chapek Disney CEO

    Why Wall Street Is Unhappy (for Now) With Disney's CEO Change

    We all knew the end was coming. Bob Iger had promised, time and again, that the end was coming. But the rather abrupt announcement Tuesday afternoon that he would relinquish his longtime role as CEO of the Walt Disney Co. — and that theme parks head Bob Chapek would succeed him at the top of [...]

  • FandangoNow - Amazon Fire TV

    Fandango's Video Streaming Service Lands on Amazon Fire TV

    FandangoNow, the on-demand transactional movie and TV service from NBCUniversal-owned Fandango, is now available on Amazon Fire TV devices and Fire TV Edition Smart TVs. The expansion to Amazon’s TV hardware platform comes as Fandango vies to get a bigger slice of the digital-entertainment pie — competing with Amazon Video, as well as Apple, Google [...]

  • The Spanish Princess Starz

    Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch Lifts Lid on Local Originals Drive for SVOD Starzplay

    Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch has outlined the local originals strategy for Starzplay, revealing that a slate of shows are being planned out of the Middle East and India as the business looks to complement its U.S. and English-language pipeline of content. Speaking at the Berlinale Series Market and Conference on Wednesday, the executive told Variety that the [...]

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Adds Deals With Six Anime Creators in Japan

    Global streaming giant, Netflix is partnering with six different Japanese creators in order to expand its slate of originals anime content. Among the deals are ones with Clamp, the female manga collective that was responsible for the “Cardcaptor Sakura” franchise. Another is with Mari Yamazaki, whose “Thermae Romae” manga was turned into two hit live-action [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content