Football fans want games no matter what. Piracy gives them a way

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During the pandemic, football consumers have hungered for something – anything – to watch in the absence of their accustomed sports league programming.  Even if it’s not their team.

A study by OpSec Security, an anti-piracy services company, found that programming originating from the Belorussian Premier League, which had lower viewership prior to the pandemic was widely distributed across social media platforms in Eastern Europe and Asia.

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Case study

OpSec Security measured two matches between popular teams that took place in succession on April 4, monitoring for infringing streams across streaming Web sites, P2P, social media and streaming server platforms.  The following figure shows what OpSec found:

Infringing Streams by Site Type (Source: OpSec Security)

OpSec found that views on social media and streaming platforms averaged 948 views per stream.  About three fourths of infringing streams were detected in Asia; with about 40% of the streams being detected in a single China-based streaming platform.

Read the findings at OpSec Security

Why it matters

Most sports leagues around the world shut down their activities in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, but sports play did continue in some countries.

It’s also noteworthy that these games were watched by consumers that lived far from the intended markets for this programming.  If a streaming pirate aggregator redistributes streams that originate from niche or out-of-region programmers, they are still likely to find an audience.

Note: This was part 2 of a blog series.  Part 1 found that film and TV piracy each increased by 40% between the first week of February and the third week of March.

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