The WBC heavyweight championship fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder last month was reportedly streamed illegally by up to 20 million people, according to piracy expert Wayne Lonstein of VFT solutions, as per boxinginsider.
Lonstein is a reported expert in content protection and crime detection and revealed following Fury’s seventh-round TKO of Wilder that while digital sales were well above expectation, cable and satellite sales were much lower than originally anticipated.
These illegal live streams were shared mainly on major social media platforms.
Reported sales figures for the pay-per-view event were believed to be between 800,000 and 850,000, which ended up being 25 per cent lower than the breakeven mark of 1.2 million.
This affects not only the promoters and the networks showcasing the amount earned by each of the fighters, who share the pay-per view revenue stream.
Lonstein said: “A sporting event such as boxing events are ripe for theft because they can end quickly and even though the rights holders can take them down within 10 to 15 minutes that’s already several rounds of the fight.
“In the case of fight between Fury and Wilder there were only 19:39 minutes of fight action.”
Lonstein continued to add: “The product is becoming compelling and there is interest in it, no question. There is an astounding opportunity (to convert some of those signal thieves into buyers), but it’s a major issue and it’s just getting bigger.”
Boxing promotions could certainly take a page out of UFC’s book and lower the pay-per view costs, as they certainly are not cheap.
In the UK for instance, to watch the Wilder-Fury 2 event on BT Sport, it would have cost you £24.95 to watch via pay-per view.
Ultimately the illegal streams are an ongoing issue which the promoters need to find a way of addressing or it could lead to the end of pay-per view events, costing some boxers much needed revenue.
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