Millions illegally streamed Mayweather-McGregor fight
About 2.9 million people watched Saturday's big fight illegally through pirated streams and social media, according to a digital security firm.
Terry CollinsStaff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Apparently, watching the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight was a big draw on the illegal streaming circuit, too.
An estimated 2.9 million people on saw the undefeated boxing champion Mayweather beat McGregor, the UFC mixed martial arts champion, on 239 illegal streams on Saturday, according to digital security platform Irdeto.
"This is one of the most pirated, if not the most pirated boxing matches we have ever seen," Mark Mulready, an Irdeto vice president of cyber services, said in a statement Monday. By comparison, there were about 200,000 viewers watching on about 19 pirated streams when boxer Anthony Joshua took the world heavyweight title from Wladimir Klitschko in April, Irdeto said.
While there were no official titles on the line, the Mayweather-McGregor spectacle from Las Vegas on Saturday was viewed as a first of its kind for combat
and seen as one of the biggest sporting events of the year. It had started as a war of words between the two men on social media that ultimately convinced Mayweather, who is undefeated, to return from retirement.
Saturday's fight was apparently seen without permission on various social media platforms including
, YouTube, Twitch and Periscope, who appeared to be shutting down streams as they popped up on their respective sites. Other streams also popped up on more typical pirate-streaming websites and on illicit streaming devices that had ads appearing on e-commerce sites including Amazon, eBay and Alibaba.
The companies say they will take action if content violates their policies.
Showtime said in a statement late Tuesday while the event's huge global appeal attracted large scale efforts to illegally stream the telecast, the network and partners "successfully blocked and removed" the highest number of unauthorized streams for any event in its history.
"We did this through cooperative efforts with our distribution partners and social media platforms during the live event, as well as with proactive court action blocking third party websites that offered illegal live streams," the network said. It did not disclose how many streams were taken down.
Showtime is owned by CBS, which also owns CNET.
First published, Aug. 28, 5:03 p.m. PT. Update, Aug. 29 at 6:37 a.m. PT: Adds comment from Showtime.
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