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Champions League knockout stages attract five million illegal streamers

Web-based streams continue to be the main vehicle for illegal distribution

Data from Irdeto has revealed that a total of 5,100 unique illegal streams were detected redistributing games over the internet during this year’s Champions League knockout stages.

Of this total, 2,093 streams were detected across social media channels including Facebook and Twitch and are estimated to have reached 4,893,902 viewers.

Web-based streams continue to be the main vehicle for illegal distribution of these matches with 2,121 web-based streams detected (of the total 5,100 streams) closely followed by social media. Some 886 streams were also identified on the Kodi media player platform.

The second leg of the semi-final featuring Roma vs Liverpool was the most-streamed match, with 405 illegal streams, representing a potential loss of revenue to clubs and the competition. The most illegally viewed match through social media streams however was the Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich semi-final second leg which received an estimated 709,393 viewers.

“Criminals have targeted premium sports content such as the UEFA Champions League and are earning a fortune from stealing the rights. This makes it crucial for content owners, rights holders and platform owners to work together and enlist technology and proactive services to take down streams in real-time,” said Rory O’Connor, senior vice president of Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto. 

“The criminals who profit from these illegal streams have little regard for their viewers and are exposing them to cybercrime, inappropriate content and malware infection. Also, viewers of illegal content can face criminal penalties if they decide to share content with friends on social media.”