Almost 3 million people watched Saturday’s fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor using illegal streams, according to a web security company.
Viewers used online links to get around paying the $US99.95 charged in the US for the high-definition pay-per-view (£19.95 in the UK).
Digital platform security company Irdeto said “239 illegal streams of the fight were watched by 2,930,598 people,” according to Forbes.
Had they all paid, even at a lower rate, the illegal audiences would have brought in at least $US60 million more.
The majority of those streams were publicised through social media channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch, while six links were available on the Kodi box plug-in device.
Rory O’Connor, senior vice president of cybersecurity at Irdeto, said in a statement: “Live sports are a cornerstone of global piracy, with thousands of sites providing illegal content attracting millions of viewers.”
Speaking to USA Today, O’Connor added: “In terms of ease of use, it’s one or two clicks, and instant viewing.”
Mayweather beat McGregor by way of referee intervention in the tenth round of their T-Mobile Arena fight in Las Vegas.
The bout, McGregor’s first in boxing despite nine years of experience in mixed martial arts, was expected to smash box office records as it thrust a two-weight UFC world champion against Mayweather, the finest pound-for-pound boxers of the last 25 years.
Prior to fight night, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe said the Mayweather v McGregor event was “bigger than Mayweather v Pacquiao,” which is currently the best-selling pay-per-view fight night of all time, according to this Business Insider list.